Skip to Content

Raqqa Internal Security Force. Photo: US Army

Will the US really withdraw from Syria?

American troops are preparing to leave northeast Syria, according to President Trump. But will the US really leave Syria?

Published: December 20, 2018, 8:15 am

    Read more

    The move will leave the American strategy in the Middle East into turmoil, The Wall Street Journal reported.

    “We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency,” the US president tweeted on Wednesday, but gave no details on his future plans.

    In a call last week between President Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan however, it became clear that Turkey is about to target Kurdish soldiers who act as American proxies in Syria.

    Sources say Turkey is ready to move into northeast Syria and its army has massed heavy weapons near the Syrian border. Some 15 000 foreign troops, transferred from Idleb and other Turkish controlled areas of northwest Syria and funded by Turkey, will be spearheading the invasion.

    Neoconservatives in Trump’s administration are furious about the announcement, since they had planned to establish a Kurdish army of 40 000 troops financed by the Syrian oil fields they occupy.

    Turkey evidently does not like the idea of 40 000 armed YPK Kurds on its border, since the YPG’s sister organisation, the PKK has been waging a separatist guerilla war against the Turkish army.

    It seems that Erdogan has offered to buy advanced Patriot US missile defense systems, even though it had earlier decided to buy the Russian S-400 system.

    The US currently still occupies border station al-Tanf between Iraq and Syria, and will not be closing down its military presence in Syria completely.

    It will be present for an indefinite period, having turned Raqqa into the equivalent of the Green Zone in Baghdad. By the official count, there are 503 US troops stationed in the Islamic State’s former capital, Consortium news reported.

    Unofficially, according to The Washington Post, the figure is closer to 4 000, which is twice the number that is supposed to represent a “full withdrawal” from Syrian soil.

    The Syrian government will have to take back the Raqqa dam, the rich agricultural land north of the Euphrates and, most importantly, the oil and gas fields near the Iraqi border which are needed to finance the country.

    To the northeast of the Euphrates area remnants of ISIS that the US will be leaving behind, will pose a problem for the Syrian leadership.

    “Pentagon officials were still trying to talk the president out of it, arguing that such a move would betray Kurdish allies who have fought alongside American troops in Syria and who could find themselves under attack in a military offensive now threatened by Turkey,” The New York Times reported.

    But it appears that the US is ready to betray their “allies” and the Kurds will likely pay a huge price for blindly having relied on American support.

    Russia, Iran, and Turkey have meanwhile been meeting with Staffan de Mistura, the UN’s special envoy for Syria, to set up a committee in January tasked with drafting a new Syrian constitution.

    In March Trump announced that he would withdraw American troops as soon as ISIS was defeated, but in September the Pentagon denied such a move, saying that US troops had to stay until Damascus and its political opponents achieved a “full settlement”.

    According to The Washington Post the US plans to extend “overall control, perhaps indefinitely, of an area comprising nearly a third of Syria”.

    White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed on Wednesday that there will be only a partial withdrawal: “We have started returning United States troops home as we transition to the next phase of this campaign.”

    “These victories over ISIS in Syria do not signal the end of the Global Coalition or its campaign,” she added, suggesting that the US will not leave.

    “The United States and our allies stand ready to re-engage at all levels to defend American interests whenever necessary, and we will continue to work together to deny radical Islamist terrorists territory, funding, support, and any means of infiltrating our borders,” the White House press secretary warned.

    Consider donating to support our work

    Help us to produce more articles like this. FreeWestMedia is depending on donations from our readers to keep going. With your help, we expose the mainstream fake news agenda.

    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.

    Middle East

    Syrian first lady supports the fight against Al Qaeda and ISIS

    The Syrian first lady has been accused by a London based law firm of terrorism and war crimes, which stem from her support of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), through her speeches, meeting with and comforting the mothers of slain soldiers, and meeting with the women’s branch of the SAR.

    Breaking: Russian sociologists released from captivity in Libya

    TripoliAccording to President of the Russian Foundation for Protecting National Values Alexander Malkevich, Russian sociologists Maxim Shugaley and Samer Sueifan have finally been released after a long captivity in Libya. This information is confirmed by Mikhail Bogdanov, the Russian president's special representative for the Middle East and Africa and deputy foreign minister.

    French president meets Hezbollah, pleads for ‘new political order’ in Beirut

    BeirutAfter the disaster that struck the Lebanese capital, Emmanuel Macron asked during his trip on Thursday for a “profound change” on the part of the leaders of Lebanon. He also met with a Hezbollah representative.

    The death blow against terrorism in Libya

    TripoliGeneral Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA) has finally eliminated Libya's Ansar al-Sharia terrorists affiliated with Al-Qaida.

    Terrorist-supported GNA breaks ceasefire in Libya

    On March 9, the spokesperson for the Libyan National Army (LNA) Command, General Ahmad Mismari, said that the Government of National Accord (GNA) forces had launched a large-scale offensive against LNA positions. Arab media have also confirmed this information.

    Anti-Turkish ‘Stop Terror’ rally held in Benghazi

    BenghaziLibyan people are protesting against the neo-Ottoman ambitions of Turkish president Erdogan.

    Al-Qaeda on the threshold of Europe

    KhartoumA Free West Media exclusive: How Sudan and Turkey transferred terrorists to Libya.

    Mass protest against US presence rocks Baghdad

    BaghdadThe Iraqi capital city of Baghdad was rocked by mass protests on Friday, as hundreds of thousands of demonstrators marched against the presence of American troops in the country.

    Manipulated OPCW report on Douma exposed in UNSC testimony

    New YorkOn November 23, WikiLeaks published information from an OPCW employee, a member of its fact finding mission to Douma, Syria, expressing “his gravest concern over intentional bias introduced to a redacted version of the report he co-authored”.

    Trump could face ‘strong’ war-crimes case over Soleimani’s murder

    Iran has indicated that it will pursue war-crimes charges against President Donald Trump at the International Criminal Court in the Hague over this month's assassination of General Qassem Soleimani.

    Go to archive