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Pentagon chief: US to keep 600 troops in Syria

November 15, 2019 at 1:04 pm

US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper at the Pentagon in Washington, US on 28 August 2019 [Yasin Öztürk/Anadolu Agency]

The United States has decided to keep about 600 military personnel in Syria despite President Donald Trump’s desire to stop US involvement in “endless wars”, Pentagon Chief Mark Esper said yesterday.

“We’re still moving troops out of northeastern Syria. We’re going to have about 500 to 600-ish troops there, at the end of the day,” Agence France-Presse quoted Esper as saying.

Asked if the figure includes the 200 troops stationed at the Al-Tanf base on the border with Jordan, Esper said he was talking only about northeastern Syria where Trump had instructed the Pentagon to protect the oil fields.

“Throughout this country, there will be about 600 troops,” Esper said.

Esper pointed out that the figure may change, especially if European allies decided to strengthen their presence in Syria.

READ: Less than 1,000 troops to remain in Syria says US General

“Things change. Events on the ground change. We could have, for example, partners and allies from Europe joining us. If they join us on the ground it may allow us the ability to redeploy further US forces out there,” he added.

Last week, US forces pulled out from a military base in Ain Al-Arab, north of Aleppo.