Recall when it was reported that despite Trump’s talk of a US military withdrawal from Syria the Pentagon was actually merely planning to go from 2500 to 1000 (up from 200, then 400) troops? Recall then when the US Chief of Staff, General Dunford, came out to say that wasn’t true at all?
Well it absolutely is true, it’s the Pentagon denial that was nonsense:
Initially announced as a total withdrawal from Syria by President Trump, the administration has backpedaled repeatedly, to the point where a large portion of US forces will be remaining on the ground in Syria, and about 1,000 or the current 2,000 are liable to spend the bulk of 2019 in Syria.
Officials say the current plan, such as it is, would be to draw down to about 1,000 by early May, and then “pause” for about six months. Then, there would be a consideration of withdrawing some more troops, perhaps getting down to 400.
This is why there were reports the US intends to keep 1,000 troops in Syria, because they do, and why the administration’s objections, and arguments that the plan is still 400, is highly misleading, as that’s now a best-case scenario.
The 400 troops, assuming it gets down there, would involve 200 troops staying at al-Tanf base, and the other 200 troops participating in a “multinational force” that not only doesn’t exist, but which all of the other proposed members have openly objected being a part of.