ISIS killed 700 prisoners in east Syria, monitor says

ISIS killed 700 prisoners in east Syria, monitor says

"We have started returning United States troops home as we transition to the next phase of this campaign". "But even more than that, the Kurds in Syria, who came forward when nobody else would to help us fight ISIS, fought bravely and died in large numbers, they're going to feel abandoned".

Hikmat Habib, a Syrian Kurdish, said he has not yet seen any evidence of a withdrawal, but added that the move is "part of the disagreement between influential states in Syria: American-Turkish disagreements, American-Russian disagreements".

The US State Department has also announced it is evacuating all personnel from Syria within the next 24 hours.

An immediate effect of an American withdrawal will be the military threat that Kurdish fighters could face from Turkey.

The Washington Post's foreign policy editor Jackson Diehl wondered how Trump's national security adviser John Bolton felt about the withdrawal, given his recent statements about the U.S. staying in Syria as long as any Iranian-backed forces were there, meaning indefinitely. 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.

Illinois Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a sometime critic of the president, likewise criticized the move in harsh terms."History will look at that as one of the stupidest strategic moves before a negotiation", he told The Washington Post.

A U.S. withdrawal would upend assumptions about a longer-term United States military presence in the country, which Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and other senior USA officials had called for to help ensure that ISIS can not return.

The Pentagon has so far refused to comment.

While ISIS has been largely curbed and pushed to a few small pockets throughout Syria, many in Washington want US forces to remain in Syria in opposition to the Assad government and its ally Iran.

"Withdrawal of this small American force in Syria would be a huge Obama-like mistake", Graham tweeted.

His tweet followed a series of news reports that the United States was preparing to withdraw its troops from Syria.

Hajin, the group's last major stronghold in Syria, is close to being seized by US-backed Syrian Defence Force fighters.

Northern Syria, where the USA troops are located, is under Kurdish control. To date, U.S. forces in Syria have been seen as a stabilising factor in the country and have somewhat restrained Turkey's actions against the SDF. In addition to the limited ground presence in Syria, the US also has conducted air strikes against the Islamic State since 2014; from December 9 to December 15, for example, the USA -led coalition conducted more than 200 strikes in Syria, according to the Pentagon.

ISIS is also widely expected to revert to guerilla tactics once it no longer holds territory.

A USA withdrawal could open Trump up to criticism if Islamic State reemerged.

Trump has previously lambasted his predecessor, Barack Obama, for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq that preceded an unravelling of the Iraqi armed forces.

Iraqi forces collapsed in the face of ISIS' advance into the country in 2014.

A pullout would allow other countries, like Iran, to increase their influence in Syria, experts said.

Washington will still have units in Iraq capable of launching strikes on Syria.

Mr Netanyahu said he had spoken with Mr Trump and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about the decision. While the ISIS' safe havens in Iraq and Syria have "largely collapsed", it still maintains a robust global enterprise of almost two dozen branches, each with "hundreds to thousands of members".

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