Around 200 US troops to remain in Syria after pullout: White House

WASHINGTON, Feb 22 (NNN-AGENCIES) – The US military will keep around 200 troops in Syria after President Donald Trump’s pullout from the war-torn country, the White House said.

“A small peace-keeping group of about 200 will remain in Syria for a period
of time,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on Thursday.

The announcement comes amid fierce criticism of Trump’s decision to
withdraw America’s 2,000 or so troops from Syria by April 30, with members of his own Republican Party blasting the move.

In December, Trump declared victory over the Daesh in Syria, even
though thousands of jihadists remain and fighting continues around their last holdout.

Critics have decried a number of possible outcomes from a precipitous
withdrawal, including a Turkish attack on US-backed Kurdish forces and a
resurgence of Daesh.

Sanders did not provide additional details, but the troops’ “peace-keeping”
designation could pave the way for European allies to commit forces for such a mission.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan visited Europe last week where he attempted to convince allies to maintain a troop presence in Syria after the US pulls out.

But he struggled to persuade other countries why they should risk their
forces with America gone.

Trump earlier Thursday spoke with Turkish President Recep Erdogan, and the two men discussed Syria, according to a White House summary.

“The two presidents agreed to continue coordinating on the creation of a
potential safe zone” in Syria, the readout said. — NNN-AGENCIES