US to pull about 1,000 troops from Syria's North due to Turkish offensive

TEHRAN, Oct. 13 (MNA) – US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the US will be pulling out around 1,000 troops from Syria's north, calling it a part of a "deliberate withdrawal".

Esper made the announcement in an interview for CBS’s "Face the Nation" on Sunday and dismissed suggestions that the move, which will leave Syrian Kurds alone in their confrontation with Turkish forces, could be called a "retreat", calling it instead a measure to ensure that US forces are not "put in harm's way".

Esper explained that the predominantly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are planning to negotiate assistance from Damascus and Russia to withstand the Turkish offensive. In light of this, he addressed the US president to figure out a way so that American forces wouldn't end up between a rock and a hard place.

"In the last 24 hours […] we have learned that the SDF are looking to cut a deal with the Syrians and the Russians to counterattack against the Turks. And, so, we find ourselves, we have American forces likely caught between two opposing advancing armies, and it's a very untenable situation", Esper said.

The defense secretary also noted that American forces stationed in Syria still have the right to self-defense and hence will fire back in case they are attacked by any forces.

Hot on the heels of Esper's announcement, US President Donald Trump also commented on Washington's decision to withdraw its forces from northern Syria, calling it the right decision. He further said the original move to get the US involved in the Middle East wars a "bad decision" and slammed those, who call on Washington to fight another "endless war", this time for the Kurds.


News Code 151164


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