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US military to leave Syria by April: report
A significant amount of U.S. troops currently stationed in Syria will be withdrawn from the country by April following President Trump's December announcement that the war against ISIS in the region was largely won, according to a report.
The Wall Street Journal reported late Thursday that senior U.S. officials confirmed that a large portion of the around 2,000 U.S. troops stationed in Syria will leave the country by the end of next month.
A Turkish official added to Reuters that the U.S. has not yet indicated to allies in the region when a troop withdrawal in Syria will be completed.
"What we know is that so far there is no withdrawal, and the situation on the ground is unchanged. There is no discussion to set any date or time ceiling [for a withdrawal]," a member of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the U.S.-aligned alliance of Syrian militant groups working against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), told Reuters.
The news comes a month after an official for the SDF told Reuters that coalition forces were assaulting the last Islamic State-held stronghold in Syria.
"They are living the final moments and realize that this battle is the battle to eliminate them," Mustafa Bali, head of SDF's media office, told Reuters in January.
The president announced in a December video message that U.S. troops would be "coming home now" due to success against ISIS and other militant groups in the country. The decision is reported to have led to the resignations of Defense Secretary James Mattis and Brett McGurk, the administration's envoy to coalition forces.
His decision shocked many in Washington at the time, including Republicans on Capitol Hill who warned that the move would endanger hard-fought gains in the region.
"They're all coming back and they're coming back now. We won, and that's the way we want it and that's the way they want it," Trump said last year.