Joint Chiefs chairman denies report that US is planning to keep 1K troops in Syria

Joint Chiefs chairman denies report that US is planning to keep 1K troops in Syria
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Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford denied the accuracy of a report published Sunday that the U.S. is planning to keep 1,000 troops in Syria.

"A claim reported this evening by a major U.S. newspaper that the U.S. military is developing plans to keep nearly 1,000 U.S. troops in Syria is factually incorrect," the Joint Staff account tweeted on behalf of Dunford.

"There has been no change to the plan announced in February and we continue to implement the President's direction to draw down U.S. forces to a residual presence."

The Wall Street Journal, citing U.S. officials, reported earlier Sunday that the U.S. was making plans to keep almost 1,000 troops in Syria, several months after President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says inviting Russia to G7 'a question of common sense' Pentagon chief does not support invoking Insurrection Act Dershowitz: Does President Trump have power to declare martial law? MORE said he was removing all forces from the country.

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The remaining troops would be tasked with assisting Kurdish forces containing the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Trump's initial announcement of a full withdrawal from Syria drew significant backlash and prompted the resignation of then-Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisOvernight Defense: Pentagon watchdog sidelined by Trump resigns | Plan would reportedly bring troops in Afghanistan back by Election Day | Third service member dies from COVID-19 Trump wants troops in Afghanistan back stateside by Election Day: report 'Never Trump' Republicans: Fringe, or force to be reckoned with? MORE.

The Trump administration then announced last month that it would be leaving 400 troops in Syria.

Dion Nissenbaum, one of the two authors of the Journal's report, tweeted Sunday that they "stand by our reporting."