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Pentagon Confirms: U.S. 'Started Process' of Withdrawing Troops from Syria

Pentagon Confirms: U.S. 'Started Process' of Withdrawing Troops from Syria

Brett McGurk, the US special envoy for the global coalition to defeat Islamic State, said last week that the group was down to its last 1 percent of the territory it once held in its self-styled "caliphate". "The United States and our allies stand ready to re-engage at all levels to defend American interests whenever necessary", she said. Defense Secretary James Mattis said on December 6, "There's more work to be done".

Iran hawks in Congress are vehemently pushing back against President Donald Trump's directive to begin pulling U.S. troops out of Syria.

The White House officially announced Wednesday morning almost 2,000 US troops are being pulled out of Syria.

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, a journalist and senior fellow at the Council for Foreign Relations who has made frequent trips to Northern Syria over the past year, agrees with Meserole's assessment. "Yet, the United States has no diplomatic presence in Syria".

"We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency", Trump tweeted on Wednesday, shortly before the White House officially announced its intention to pull USA troops out of Syria.

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said the withdrawal would be a "grave error with broader implications" beyond the fight against ISIS.

The partnership with the SDF has outraged North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey, which views the US-backed Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) as an extension of a armed group fighting inside Turkey.

Still, Mattis and US State Department officials have long fretted about leaving Syria before a peace agreement can be reached to end that country's brutal civil war, which has killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced around half of Syria's prewar population of about 22 million. Russia's position has always been that U.S. forces should not be in Syria.

A withdrawal of the troops would mark a sudden reversal in US military strategy in the region. The presence of US troops has become "a unsafe obstacle" to peace in the country, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said before the news about the withdrawal broke on Wednesday.

EPL: Klopp praises hat-trick hero Salah after Liverpool win
Salah said: "We're top of the table and I scored three goals so it was a fantastic win today - and a clean sheet too". We've got to keep our foot on the gas.

National security adviser John Bolton warned in September that the United States would stay in Syria until the departure of Iran - a key backer of Assad.

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., issued a statement also condemning the withdrawal, saying "the losers are Israel, humanitarian victims, and US intelligence gathering". Lindsey Graham said in a statement that pulling out troops would be an "Obama-like" mistake that would help terrorists in Syria, strengthen the rulers of Syria and Iran, and abandon Kurds who have joined Americans in the fight against the Islamic State.

Any other policy, he said, would be "reckless".

Responding to the president's post about the defeat of ISIS he tweeted: "I strongly disagree".

"I think it's fair to say Americans will remain on the ground after the physical defeat of the caliphate until we have the pieces in place to ensure that that defeat is enduring", he added.

US President Donald Trump (L) watches an air assault exercise with Army Major General Walter Piatt at Fort Drum, New York, on August 13, 2018.

Yet Secretary Mattis dismissed the idea shortly thereafter, reiterating his stance that US troops were in Syria with the sole mission to take out ISIS.

Completion of the deal with Russian Federation for the S-400 system would have opened up Turkey to possible USA sanctions and driven a major wedge between the allies.

I hope Trump actually does follow through and pull out troops.

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