Trump agrees on keeping U.S. troops in Syria: report
People's Daily Online
(Xinhua) 10:22, March 06, 2019
WASHINGTON, March 5 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Donald Trump responded to lawmakers that he fully agrees on keeping U.S. forces in Syria, U.S. media reported on Tuesday.
A bipartisan group of Senators and Representatives wrote to Trump on Feb. 22, praising his decision to keep a small group of troops in Syria as a stabilizing force.
A copy of the letter obtained by NBC News showed that Trump highlighted a paragraph about the objectives of U.S. continued presence in Syria.
"I agree 100%. ALL is being done," Trump wrote on the letter with his signature.
The White House on Feb. 21 announced that the United States would leave about 200 troops in Syria after the planned pullout. Trump confirmed the next day that a small fraction of U.S. forces would remain in Syria with troops from other countries.
Citing a senior administration official, the media later reported that the U.S. military would leave about 400 troops in two different regions of Syria.
According to the official, half of them would join the multinational force of roughly 800 to 1,500 troops deployed in northeastern Syria to maintain a buffer between Turkey and U.S.-backed Kurdish forces. The rest 200 troops would stay at its base in al-Tanf, near the Syrian border with Iraq and Jordan.
General Joseph Votel, commander of the U.S. Central Command, told the media last month that the United States would likely start to withdraw its troops from Syria in the coming weeks. Currently, there are about 2,000 U.S. troops deployed in Syria.
Declaring victory over the Islamic State, Trump last December announced the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, leading to the resignation of then U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis.
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