Months after President Wet Boy announced a total withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria within 30 days, the Wall Street Journal reports that half of the troops that are currently in the country will most likely remain.
The decision comes after failed talks between the U.S., Turkey, European allies, and Kurdish fighters in the region. The negotiations were intended to create a “safe zone” in northeastern Syria.
From the Journal:
The U.S. now plans to keep working with Kurdish fighters in Syria, despite Turkish threats to cross the border and attack the Kurds, the U.S. officials said. The proposal could keep as many as 1,000 American forces, spread from the north of Syria to the south, they said.
Once the last remnants of ISIS are destroyed, the U.S. will supposedly move forward with Trump’s plan of a total withdrawal.
Trump’s idea to bring all troops home from Syria was attacked from the beginning. Former Defense Secretary James Mattis resigned over the move, and other top officials on the national security team, including national security advisor John Bolton, urged Trump to reconsider. Bolton then announced that there was “no timetable” for the withdrawal.
One concern in removing troops from the country was whether Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan would take our withdrawal as an opportunity to attack U.S.-backed Kurdish forces. In talks, Erdogan refused to promise that he wouldn’t attack the Kurds if the U.S. was to withdraw.
After the pushback, the White House said they’d keep 200 peacekeepers in the region. Then they changed the number to 400.
Pentagon officials said Trump pulled those numbers out of his ass.
“The original number had no basis in military planning,” the official told the Journal.
The exact number of U.S. troops that will remain in the area is still being debated.
“We well understand that an American military presence—and the numbers and functions can go up and down—is a force for stability and collective security in the region,” James Jeffrey, the U.S. envoy to the global campaign against ISIS, told the Journal.
The former envoy in Jeffrey’s role, Brett McGurk, resigned last year over the president’s Syria plan.
But the idea to reduce troops is still apparently in place.
“There will be a substantial withdrawal and final numbers are neither determined nor approved,” a senior administration official told the Journal.