02:19 GMT25 January 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The US military are planning to keep nearly 1,000 troops in Syria, the US-based media reported on Sunday, citing US officials.

    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.

    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.

    READ MORE: Bush, Cheney’s Iraq Lies and War Crimes Spawned Daesh and Killed Millions

    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.

    The SDF and its political wing, the Syrian Democratic Council reportedly control huge swathes of the Syrian territory to the east of Euphrates. The Kurds proclaimed the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria (DFNS) in the region, which is recognized by neither Damascus nor the world community.

    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.

    WATCH: Kurdish-led SDF Continue Offensive Against Daesh in Syria's Baghouz

    White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in February that the United States would leave a small peacekeeping group of about 200 personnel in Syria "for a period of time". According to media reports, this number has already risen to 400, with 200 troops to be placed in northeast Syria and the other 200 at At-Tanf base in southern Syria.

    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.


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