Trump administration plans to pull U.S. troops from Syria, defense official says

(Hussein Malla | The Associated Press) In this Wednesday, April 4, 2018 file photo, a U.S. soldier sits on his armored vehicle on a road leading to the tense front line with Turkish-backed fighters, in Manbij, north Syria. Even as President Donald Trump mulls a U.S. pullout, insisting that the Islamic State is “almost completely defeated,” the extremist group is showing signs of resurgence in Syria. Talk of a U.S. troop withdrawal has alarmed the Unites States’ main ally in Syria, the Kurds, who fought alongside the Americans to roll back the Islamic State group.

Washington • The Trump administration has decided to pull all U.S. troops out of Syria, a defense official said on Wednesday.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a decision that has not yet been announced, said the decision would include the entire force of more than 2,000 U.S. service members. It was made on Tuesday, the official said.

President Donald Trump has long promised to conclude the campaign against the Islamic State and has questioned the value of costly and dangerous military missions overseas.

The decision comes as tensions increase with NATO ally Turkey, which has promised to launch a military offensive against Syrian Kurdish forces, which are partnered with the United States against the Islamic State, in U.S.-controlled territory in Syria.

The withdrawal is expected to occur as quickly as possible, the official said.

The Wall Street Journal first reported on Wednesday that U.S. troops would be withdrawn from northeast Syria.