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Pentagon's Esper sees Syria pullback taking another "week or so"

November 13, 2019 at 10:00 pm

US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper makes a speech during the joint press conference with U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Joseph Dunford (not seen) at the Pentagon in Washington, United States on 28 August 2019 [Yasin Öztürk/Anadolu Agency]

The US military pullback from the Kobani area in northeastern Syria near Turkey’s border should take “another week or so” to complete, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Wednesday, as the US military repositions and reduces its forces in Syria, Reuters reports.

Esper said that once the partial US withdrawal was finished, the US military would still have roughly around 600 troops in Syria, down from about 1,000 before Trump’s withdrawal order last month. Esper said the United States was still supporting the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which Turkey views as a terrorist group.

“We’re still partnering with the SDF. We’re still providing assistance to them,” Esper said, stressing the SDF’s role in helping prevent a resurgence of the Islamic State militant group.

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