After initially ordering only a handful of U.S. troops out of Syria, President Trump has now decided virtually all will be withdrawn. The move means about 1,000 soldiers will soon be removed from northern Syria, where Turkish forces are advancing against the Kurds.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on CBS’ Face The Nation:
“We have American forces likely caught between two opposing, advancing armies and it’s a very untenable situation. I spoke with the President last night, after discussions with the rest of the national security team, and he directed that we begin a deliberate withdrawal of forces from northern Syria.”
Secretary Esper also confirmed to CBS that the Kurds had begun negotiations with the Russians for assistance against Turkey.
The situation on the ground is said to be deteriorating rapidly and U.S. forces run the risk of being isolated.
Graphic video has surfaced showing forces aligned with Turkey committing war crimes against civilians.
Meanwhile, the New York Times is reporting hundreds of ISIS supporters have escaped detention camps in Syria.
The area was freed from terrorists only recently, according to the Times:
“A Kurdish official also said that the flag of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, had been raised in the countryside between the camp in the Kurdish-held town of Ain Issa and the Turkish border, another indication of how the Kurdish authorities were losing control of a region they had freed from the extremists only months ago.“
One U.S. official told the Washington Post the situation on the ground remains “fluid,” and it was not clear if the troops are being withdrawn out of the country or to a safer area in southern Syria.