US Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has said that reducing the US troops in Syria is ongoing, indicating talks with the Turks and other allies over the Coalition’s plans for the post-ISIS phase.
“I do have some further comments on Syria: We’re working closely with the Turks. They are a strategic partner. More importantly, we are on plan for a drawdown in Syria. We are in close coordination with our [Defeat-ISIS] coalition partners on the real details of the plan,” Shanahan said in remarks on Monday, as he was receiving French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly.
The issue of US troops in Syria has raised controversy over the past two days, as the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that the Donald Trump administration is now considering leaving as many as 1,000 US troops in the country to defeat the remnants of the Islamic State, walking back its pullout from Syria.
The report claimed that the administration talks with Turkey, European allies and U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters have failed to secure an agreement to create a safe zone in northeastern Syria, part of Mr. Trump’s plan for leaving Syria.
However, Gen. Joseph Dunford , chairman of the the Joint Chiefs, denied the report.
“A claim reported this evening by a major U.S. newspaper that the U.S. military is developing plans to keep nearly 1,000 U.S. troops in Syria is factually incorrect,” said Dunford in his statement.