Most of the U.S. troops in Syria are being moved out of the country as Turkish forces and their Arab allies push further into Kurdish territory than originally expected, Task & Purpose has learned.
“I spoke with the president last night after discussions with the rest of the national security team and he directed that we begin a deliberate withdrawal of forces from northern Syria,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Sunday’s edition of CBS News’ “Face the Nation.”‘
“It’ll be a deliberate withdrawal and we want to conduct it as- as safely and quickly as possible,” Esper continued. “So we want to make sure we de-conflict a pullback of forces. We want to make sure we don’t leave equipment behind. So I’m not prepared to put a timeline on it, but that’s our general game plan.”
As of Sunday, the president had not issued an order to pull all U.S. troops out of Syria, a U.S. official told Task & Purpose. The official also stressed that the U.S. troops in northern Syria are relocating elsewhere in the region, not abandoning their posts amid Turkey’s invasion.
The official also said the U.S. withdrawal would be safe, orderly, deliberate, with force protection as a top priority.
UPDATE: This story was updated on Oct. 13 to clarify that most U.S. troops in Syria are being moved outside of the country.