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March 18, 2019 10:41 am

Report: US Now to Leave as Many as 1,000 Troops in Syria

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US Army Special Forces soldiers in Raqqa, Syria, on May 25, 2016. Photo: Delil Souleiman/AFP via Wikipedia. – The United States is now planning to leave as many as 1,000 troops in Syria, reported The Wall Street Journal on Sunday, citing US officials.

The increase in numbers—an initial 200 was cited, then 400 troops remaining—exemplifies what has been an apparent reversal since US President Donald Trump announced in December that all 2,000 US troops will withdraw from Syria

But the decision led to an immediate backlash from both congressional Republicans and Democrats, and the Jewish and pro-Israel community, fearing that withdrawal would leave a vacuum and empower Iran and its proxies, in addition to Turkey, to threaten northern Israel and Kurdish allies.

The administration announced last month that 400 troops would remain with half serving as a peacekeeping force in northeast Syria and the other half stationed at the US military base at al-Tanf in the southeastern part of the country to, as Trump told CBS News, “watch” Iran and “protect Israel.”

James Jeffrey, the US envoy for Syria who also oversees the global coalition against the Islamic State, told the Journal that the US.military presence in Syria represents a “force for stability” in the area.

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