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U.S. preparing full troop withdrawal from Syria: report

December 19, 2018

The Trump administration is seriously considering withdrawing all American forces from Syria, Reuters and other news outlets reported Wednesday in a development that would mark a major shift in U.S. strategy in the region and in the years-long fight against the Islamic State.

The U.S. has about 2,000 ground troops in Syria and has conducted airstrikes against the Islamic State in the country since 2014.

Pentagon officials in recent months have said the Islamic State has been “territorially defeated,” signaling that an end to the formal American military mission could be near. And President Trump also has said recently he wants to bring all U.S. forces home.

But Defense Department officials have occasionally been at odds with the White House on the exact U.S. mission in Syria.

Pentagon officials have said the only American mission is to defeat the Islamic State, while White House national security adviser John Bolton said the U.S. would remain in Syria until all Iranian-backed proxy groups which are aligned with Syrian dictator Bashar Assad are forced out of the country.

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