200 US soldiers to be left behind in Syria post-withdrawal

By Helene Fung

US President Donald Trump bucked under pressure, and back-flipped away from a complete withdrawal of the US forces from Syria.

The White House announced in a statement that “a small peacekeeping group of about 200 will remain in Syria for a period of time”.

No details have been provided regarding how long the 200 soldiers would remain in Syria, or where precisely they would be located.

The decision was made public after Mr Trump had a chance to telephone Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.

According to a White House statement, Mr Trump and Mr Erdogan agreed to”continue coordinating on the creation of a potential safe zone” for Syria.

Multiple advisers have urged Mr Trump to ensure the protection of Kurdish forces, who supported the fight against Islamic State, and who may be vulnerable to threats from Turkey and Iran.

This decision could help Mr Trump overcome criticism that US withdrawal from Syria could lead to Islamic State’s gathering strength.

Turkey wants to set up a safe zone with logistical support from allies but free of US-backed Kurdish YPG militia, which Tukey considers to be a terrorist group.

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