According to The Wall Street Journal, Washington plans to continue supporting Kurdish forces in Syria despite the threats from Ankara to launch a military operation against the Kurds in northern Syria. Sources told the media outlet that these plans require to keep nearly half of the current US military contingent in the country.
However, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford denied the accuracy of the media report.
THREAD: Statement by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff #GenDunford on #Syria Troop Numbers: A claim reported this evening by a major U.S. newspaper that the U.S. military is developing plans to keep nearly 1,000 U.S. troops in Syria is factually incorrect. (1/3)— The Joint Staff (@thejointstaff) 18 марта 2019 г.
According to the Pentagon, "there has been no change to the plan announced in February" and the US continues to implement the president's order to pull out US forces from Syria.
There has been no change to the plan announced in February and we continue to implement the President's direction to draw down U.S. forces to a residual presence. (2/3)— The Joint Staff (@thejointstaff) 18 марта 2019 г.
Washington's support for the opposition Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and groups affiliated with them, has been one of the stumbling blocks in US-Turkish relations.
Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal notes that the number of US military contingent in Syria could change if Trump decides that it is too risky to keep such a big number of troops in the conflict-torn country.
US President Donald Trump announced last December that he had decided to pull out troops from Syria promising to bring about 2,000 US servicemen back home. The reason for the move, he explained, was the defeat of the Daesh terrorist group in Syria. However, no exact deadline for the return of troops has been revealed by US officials yet.
The US-led coalition of more than 70 members has been conducting military operations against the Daesh in Syria and Iraq since September 2014. The coalition’s activities in Syria are authorized neither by the Syrian government, nor by the UN Security Council.
*Daesh, (also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS/Islamic State), is a terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries.