U.S. Troops Leaving Northern Syria Are Heading to Western Iraq
ON THE MOVE
U.S. soldiers leaving the battlefield in northern Syria are not coming home, despite President Donald Trump’s claims that they are. On Sunday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper told journalists traveling with him in the Middle East that they will go to western Iraq instead, according to the Associated Press. On Wednesday, the president had justified the withdrawal of troops helping provide cover to Kurdish allies by saying, “It’s time to bring our soldiers back home.” But Esper said the U.S. forces will conduct counter-terrorism missions from Iraq into Syria to try to stop an ISIS resurgence. Esper laid out a two-prong mission for the 1,000 U.S. troops leaving Syria. “One is to help defend Iraq and two is to perform a counter-ISIS mission as we sort through the next steps,” he said. “Things could change between now and whenever we complete the withdrawal, but that’s the game plan right now.” There are currently around 5,000 troops stationed in Iraq.