Exclusive: U.S. could pull bulk of troops from Syria in matter of days - officials
Monday, 14 October, 2019, 16:15
The United States is considering plans to withdraw the bulk of American troops from northern Syria in the coming days, two U.S. officials told Reuters on Sunday, in what would be a faster-than-expected timeline for the U.S. pullout amid Turkey’s escalating offensive.
U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced earlier on Sunday that he was acting on orders from President Donald Trump to begin a deliberate withdrawal from northern Syria, where the United States has around 1,000 forces.
Esper did not elaborate on the timing of the withdrawal, saying only that he wanted it to be done “as safely and quickly as possible.”
The U.S. officials, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said the United States was looking at several options but added it appeared likely the military would pull the majority of its forces in the coming days, instead of weeks.
A full withdrawal could take two weeks or more, although even that could happen faster than expected, one official said.
The disclosure of the fast-paced withdrawal caps off a dramatic week of policy upheaval on Syria, which was once the heart of the Islamic State militant group’s so-called caliphate.
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