WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Mark Esper says President Donald Trump has ordered all U.S. troops in northern Syria to move south, but not leave the country.
Esper tells CBS’ “Face the Nation” that the conflict between Turkish forces and U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish fighters had become “untenable” for the U.S. military.
And that led Trump to direct what Esper calls a “deliberate” withdrawal of American troops from the north. Esper says the forces weren’t ordered to leave Syria entirely.
Esper isn’t saying how many U.S. troops will leave the north, but he says they represent most of the 1,000 troops in Syria.
Esper also says the U.S. believes the Kurds are about to “cut a deal” with the Syrian army and Russia to enable a counterattack against Turkey and its Syrian proxy forces.