According to The NYT, as of this week, at least 500 of the original 1,000 servicemen in Syria have left, and the withdrawal will continue until roughly 250 troops are left, largely deployed to the Syrian Deir ez-Zor province. In addition, mechanised troops are soon expected to join the initial group, bringing the total number of troops guarding the oil fields to about 500.
The media outlet combined this figure with the US troops stationed in the US-controlled zone around its unauthorised military base near At Tanf and revealed that the total number of US servicemen in Syria will amount to about 900. This number could easily rise in case of re-emergence of the Daesh* terrorist group.
Earlier in October, US President Donald Trump said that US troops had begun pulling out of northern Syria. US Defence Secretary Mark Esper later noted that Washington planned to withdraw another 1,000 troops from the Middle Eastern country.
On 9 October, Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring in northeastern Syria to clear the area of Kurdish units and Daesh. The United States and Turkey came to an agreement on 17 October for a 120-hour ceasefire in the area to allow the withdrawal of the Kurdish fighters.
As the five-day ceasefire came to an end, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin reached a deal to facilitate the withdrawal of the Kurdish troops and their weapons from the 18-mile safe zone within 150 hours and establish joint patrols in the operation zone along the Turkish border.
* Daesh (ISIL/ISIS/IS/Islamic State) is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia