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About 200 US Troops will Remain in Syria After the Withdrawal: WH

WASHINGTON – The US military will maintain about 200 troops in Syria following the withdrawal of President Donald Trump from this war-torn country, the White House (WH) announced Friday.
“A small group of about 200 peace keepers will stay in Syria for a while,” said White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders.
The announcement comes amid sharp criticism of Trump’s decision to pull the approximately 2,000 US troops out of Syria by April 30, as members of his own Republican party go wild, New York times reported.
In December, Trump declared victory over the group of Islamic states in Syria, even though thousands of jihadists are still alive and fighting continues around their last conflict.
Critics have decried several possible consequences of a precipitous withdrawal, including a Turkish attack on US-backed Kurdish forces and a resurgence of IS.
Sanders did not provide additional details, but the “peacekeeping” designation of troops could allow European allies to engage forces for such a mission.
Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan traveled to Europe last week, where he tried to convince his allies to maintain a military presence in Syria after the withdrawal of the United States, but he had trouble convincing other countries why they should risk their forces with the departure of America.
Trump spoke Thursday with Turkish President Recep Erdogan and the two men discussed Syria, according to a White House summary.
“The two presidents have agreed to continue coordination for the creation of a potential security zone” in Syria, the statement said.
At the height of his rule, the IS imposed its brutal ideology on a territory roughly the size of the United Kingdom, attracting thousands of supporters from abroad.
But jihadists have since lost almost all their territory except for a tiny radius of about half a square kilometer (one-fifth of a square mile) in the Syrian village of Baghouz, in the east of the country.
The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) is working to evacuate the remaining civilians in order to eliminate the “caliphate” of the dying state, whether through an attack or by a surrender.
Syrian Kurds have long called for the repatriation of foreigners accused of belonging to the IS in their custody, but their country of origin has been reluctant.
US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that he was banning a former US-born Islamic State propagandist from returning home from Syria, where the conflict has killed more than 460,000 people and has moved millions of people since 2011.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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