The US is preparing to pull its remaining 1,000 troops out of northern Syria as the Turkish offensive against the Kurds moves forward
DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP/Getty Images
- Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the US is "preparing to evacuate" its remaining 1,000 troops in northern Syria, as per a Saturday night authorization for "deliberate withdrawal" by President Donald Trump.
- Esper said during Sunday's "Face the Nation" segment on CBS News that the US national security team learned in the past 24 hours that Turkish forces will expand their attack further south and west than originally planned.
- He also said that Kurdish forces are looking to work with Syrians and Russians to counter-attack against Turkish forces in the north, and that American forces could be caught in the crosshairs.
- The Trump administration recently announced it would pull troops from northern Syria, which has been criticized as allowing Turkish forces to attack the Kurds, who have been US allies in the fight against ISIS.
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has denied that the US is enabling the Turkish offensive, calling it a "bad idea." However, the move to reposition troops stemmed from a call between Trump and Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Since then, Turkish forces have entered Kurdish territory in Syria and overtaken a key border town. Artillery fire nearly hit a small group of US forces stationed in a Kurdish-controlled town on Friday, too. ISIS members imprisoned in Syria have indicated a plan for jailbreaks amid the conflict, and a video emerged Friday that appears to show some ISIS members escaping in the aftermath of a Turkish attack.
WATCH: .@EsperDoD on the planned evacuation of U.S. troopers in northern Syria.- Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) October 13, 2019
"I spoke with the president last night after discussions with the rest national security team and he directed that we begin a deliberate withdrawal of forces from northern Syria." pic.twitter.com/2Ma0XmypfP
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