U.S. to withdraw all troops from Syria by April - report
The Pentagon plans to remove all American forces from Syria by the end of April, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. In addition, the United States is planning to remove a significant portion of the military forces by mid-March.
Critics of the pullout note the Trump Administration has yet to implement an orderly plan to protect Kurdish military groups, who are allies with US forces, from attacks by Turkish forces upon their departure.
Turkey and the US have been discussing a “buffer” or “safe” zone that might extend up to 30 km. in Syria. Turkey wants this zone to be free of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a Kurdish group. This has raised fears of a new conflict in Syria once the US withdraws.
US President Donald Trump has vowed that "great nations do not fight endless wars." In his State of the Union address to US Congress this week, he reiterated now "now, as we work with our allies to destroy the remnants of ISIS, it is time to give our brave warriors in Syria a warm welcome home."
Military experts said that in order to carry out an orderly and safe withdrawal they needed a period of 120 days, which is about four months. They stated that it was necessary to decide which equipment would be transferred to another location, which would remain for the use of the Allies, and which would be destroyed in order to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands.
Syria has been in a state of Civil War since 2011, when Syria rebel groups fought to oust President Basher Assad. Over the years more countries and militias have become embroiled in the conflict including Kurdish groups, Iran, Russia, and ISIS.
Stray rockets have hit Israel from the north, prompting the Jewish state to react. Syrian refugees have been treated in Israeli hospitals near the border.
Syria is technically an enemy state of Israel, although the two haven't had a full-scale conflict since the 1973 Yom Kippur War.