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Small number of U.S. troops leave town in northern Syria

Robert T Moore

Oct. 13, 2019

WASHINGTON - A small number of U.S. troops have left an outpost in the town on Ain Issa in northern Syria because of concerns about a Turkish incursion that is pushing into Syria, two U.S. defense official told Reuters on Sunday.
The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the troops had moved because of concerns they could be caught in the middle of the Turkish offensive.
The United States is poised to evacuate about 1,000 U.S. troops from northern Syria, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Sunday in an interview with "Face the Nation" on CBS.
The withdrawal of the troops from the region comes after U.S. President Donald Trump abruptly shifted policy and withdrew some U.S. troops deployed to support Kurdish forces in the fight against Islamic State.
That decision in turn helped open the door for Turkey to launch an offensive against the Syrian Defense Forces (SDF).
"In the last 24 hours, we learned that [the Turks] likely intend to extend their attack further south than originally planned, and to the west," Esper said in a pre-taped interview with CBS.
"We also have learned in the last 24 hours that the ... SDF are looking to cut a deal, if you will, with the Syrians and the Russians to counterattack against the Turks in the north."
Esper called the situation "untenable" for U.S. forces, saying that he spoke with Trump last night, and that the president directed the U.S. military to "begin a deliberate withdrawal of forces from northern Syria."
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