White House orders Pentagon to pull troops from Syria immediately

"Iran knows the us stands ready to re-engage at all levels to defend American interests", the official said.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has also suggested that a precipitous withdrawal could enable militants to make a comeback, as they did in Iraq before the Islamic State's rise in 2014. A US withdrawal - including the end of joint USA and Turkish patrols along the border - could open the door for more Turkish operations against the Syrian rebels.

The decision came after a phone call between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan on Friday.

The White House said Wednesday that US troops in Syria have begun withdrawing, shortly after President Donald Trump tweeted said that the USA has defeated Islamic State in Syria. After visiting Syria earlier this year, it is abundantly clear the approximately 2,000 American troops stationed there are vital to our national security interests.

As his once improbable candidacy gathered steam, Trump found a major political issue on Syria - assailing refugees and demanding a sweeping ban on Muslims entering the United States. We have started the process of returning USA troops home from Syria as we transition to the next phase of the campaign.

Planning for the pullout has begun and troops will begin leaving as soon as possible, said the official, who was not authorised to publicly discuss military planning and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a statement said he had spoken over the past two days with the USA president and secretary of state about their intention to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria.

This shouldn't come as a surprise to observers of the US strategy in Syria, headed by Defense Secretary James Mattis, which entirely ignored Iran's expansion into the region.

James Jeffrey, the USA special representative on Syria, later clarified that the continued U.S. role would not necessarily be military.

"The U.S.is the only global power able to stop Russia, Iran, & their terrorist proxies in Syria from total control of a region vital to national security", he tweeted. An American withdrawal at this time would be a big win for ISIS, Iran, Bashar al Assad of Syria, and Russian Federation. And the White House and Pentagon are offering sparse details on how such a withdrawal will work, with the White House and the Pentagon referring questions to each other Wednesday in the wake of the announcement.

Some analysts said the news will mark the fulfillment of a major Trump campaign promise and indicates the USA believes its war on the Islamic State is coming to an end.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who shares the president's distaste for foreign wars, said on Twitter that he was "happy to see a President who can declare victory and bring our troops out of a war".

Responding to the president's post about the defeat of ISIS he tweeted: "I strongly disagree".

Sanders said the defeat of IS does not mean the military campaign by coalition forces is ending.

Casting himself as showing more resolve than Obama, Trump ordered 59 cruise missiles to strike a Syrian air base.

The timing of the withdrawal was not immediately clear and U.S. officials who spoke to Reuters news agency on the condition of anonymity did not disclose details about the deliberations, including who was involved. At the time, Jeffrey said American troops would remain in Syria to ensure Iran's departure. With U.S. troops gone, Turkey would likely have free reign over the area. "I am confident the president is on board with this".


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