WSJ: US Troops to Withdraw from Syria by End of April
By Staff, News Agencies
The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday citing current and former US officials that the military is eyeing the end of April as the target date to pull-out its forces from Syria.
According to the publication, the US will remove a significant portion of the 2,000 troops currently serving in the conflict-wracked country by mid-March with a full withdrawal coming by the end of April.
The Pentagon, who declined to comment to the WSJ on the recent report, has repeatedly stressed it would not telegraph its troop movements or give timelines for when they may leave Syria.
Earlier in January, reports emerged that the military had begun moving non-essential equipment from Syria and the preparation of facilities.
US President Donald Trump stunned Western allies on December 19 by announcing the American decision to quit Syria, declaring that the Wahhabi Daesh [Arabic acronym for “ISIS” / “ISIL”], had been wiped out. "We're at 99 percent right now, we'll be at 100," the premier asserted referring to the proportion of the caliphate that had been recaptured.
Since then, however, administration officials appear to have walked back the announcement considerably. In a carefully worded statement on Monday, the State Department conceded that the group still had fighters who pose concerns.
"Despite the liberation of ISIS-held territory in Iraq and Syria, ISIS remains a significant terrorist threat and collective action is imperative to address this shared international security challenge," State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said earlier this week.
Echoing such concerns and appearing to contradict Trump’s claims, the UN sanctions monitor said on Wednesday that Daesh has not been defeated and continues to pose by far the most significant threat of any terror group.
There are between 14,000 and 18,000 Daesh militants in Syria and in Iraq, including up to 3,000 foreign fighters, according to a report by the sanctions monitoring team presented to the Security Council.