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Syria war: the United States to leave 200 troops for peacekeeping after withdrawal

Image CopyrightAFP CaptionsAn American baked alliance is waiting to evacuate civilians before they hit their final attack on IS militants in Syria The US military will retain 200 troops in Syria to act as a peacekeeping force after it withdraws most of its soldiers, the White House says. President Donald Trump has criticized his decision last December to withdraw 2,000 troops. He said the Islamic state group had been "defeated", but critics warn that the group has not completely disappeared. 1 9659007] The latest announcement comes as the battle against the grass is out of the last pocket it holds in Syria continues. US supporting fighters belonging to the Syrian democratic forces (SDF) alliances are making new attempts to evacuate civilians from Baghuz, a village in eastern Syria at the Iraqi border. An estimated 300 IS warrior is believed to be held in a small pocket. Why now? President Trump's announcement of a quick withdrawal at the end of December surprised American allies and their own military and defense consultants at the end of December. It caused concern that Turkey could attack Kurdish forces who have been working with the United States to fight IS in Syria. US officials said the US forces were initially given 30 days to leave Syria, but Mr Trump later said the recall would slow down. At a press conference on Thursday, White House spokesman Sarah Sanders said: "A small peacekeeping group of about 200 will remain in Syria for a period of time." Republican…

 A member of the Kurdish-led Syrian democratic forces (SDF), through binoculars as he escortes a convoy with men identified as Islamic state-group fighters abandoned, is transported out of the IS's last stop for Baghouz in Syria's northern Deir Ezzor province February 20, 2019.

Image Copyright
AFP

Captions

An American baked alliance is waiting to evacuate civilians before they hit their final attack on IS militants in Syria

The US military will retain 200 troops in Syria to act as a peacekeeping force after it withdraws most of its soldiers, the White House says.

President Donald Trump has criticized his decision last December to withdraw 2,000 troops.

He said the Islamic state group had been “defeated”, but critics warn that the group has not completely disappeared. 1

9659007] The latest announcement comes as the battle against the grass is out of the last pocket it holds in Syria continues.

US supporting fighters belonging to the Syrian democratic forces (SDF) alliances are making new attempts to evacuate civilians from Baghuz, a village in eastern Syria at the Iraqi border.

An estimated 300 IS warrior is believed to be held in a small pocket.

Why now?

President Trump’s announcement of a quick withdrawal at the end of December surprised American allies and their own military and defense consultants at the end of December. It caused concern that Turkey could attack Kurdish forces who have been working with the United States to fight IS in Syria.

US officials said the US forces were initially given 30 days to leave Syria, but Mr Trump later said the recall would slow down.

At a press conference on Thursday, White House spokesman Sarah Sanders said: “A small peacekeeping group of about 200 will remain in Syria for a period of time.”

Republican senator Lindsey Graham, who opposed the selection decision, praised Trump’s latest move said the troops would work “as part of an international stabilizing force”.

US troops currently have a presence in a network of bases and runways in an arch across northeastern Syria.

A temporary delay – but still lacks

By Jonathan Marcus, BBC Defense Correspondent

This shift in US position can, to some extent, assure his Kurdish allies and help keep some small elements of allied troops and special forces on the ground.

The troops have been described as “peacekeepers” by the White House, but they will clearly help keep the Kurdish forces credible and link them to US air force if needed.

Instantly, it is about preventing the revival of IS and it also prevents an even deeper push in Syria by the Turks.

But the fact that one of the two remaining American bases will be in the southeast, near Syria’s borders with Iraq and Jordan, shows that counteracting Iranian influence is one of the key guidelines of the US strategy.

But this is still far from an overall strategy for the future of Syria or the region, and for Washington’s Kurdish allies it can only be a temporary blessing.

What is the latest in the fight against IS?

The SDF Alliance has IS military officers surrounded in their final populated Syria, but says it has delayed its last attack to allow the remaining civilians to be evacuated.

A convoy of about 30 trucks was mainly seen women and children out of the area on Friday, but the SDF warns that thousands of civilians remain.

Image copyright
Reuters

Captions

Thousands of people living under IS in Baghuz have fled the fighting in recent days and weeks

Some 20,000 civilians are expected to have fled the area in recent weeks, but these departures stayed earlier this week.

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Most have been taken by the SDF to a temporary camp for displaced persons in Hassakeh Province, Northeast Syria. Among them are wives and children of IS militants and many foreign citizens.

They include the British teens Shamima Begum and the American woman Hoda Muthana, both of whom are in limbo after being told by their respective governments, they no longer have citizenship.

Separately, the jihadist group said it was behind a car bomb attack on an oil field 100 miles north of Baghuz, killing at least 13 people, including SDF soldiers, on Thursday.

The case of the last is territorial stronghold of Syria is important – but experts have warned of the group’s ideological traits. 19659007] At its height, five years ago, 88,000 square kilometers of territory ranging from western Syria to Eastern Iraq are controlled.

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How the jihadist group rose and fell



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