US Defence Secretary Mark Esper said during an interview for CBS’s "Face the Nation" that the US will be pulling out around 1,000 troops from Syria's north, calling it a part of a "deliberate withdrawal". At the same time, Esper dismissed suggestions that the move, which will leave Syrian Kurds alone in their confrontation with Turkish forces, could be called a "retreat", calling it instead a measure to ensure that US forces are not "put in harm's way", Trend reports citing Sputnik.
Esper explained that the predominantly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are planning to negotiate assistance from Damascus and Russia to withstand the Turkish offensive. In light of this, he addressed the US president to figure out a way so that American forces wouldn't end up between a rock and a hard place.
"In the last 24 hours […] we have learned that the SDF are looking to cut a deal with the Syrians and the Russians to counterattack against the Turks. And so we find ourselves, we have American forces likely caught between two opposing advancing armies, and it's a very untenable situation", Esper said.
The defence secretary also noted that American forces stationed in Syria still have the right to self-defence and hence will fire back in case they are attacked by any forces.
Hot on the heels of Esper's announcement, US President Donald Trump also commented on Washington's decision to withdraw its forces from northern Syria, calling it the right decision. He further said the original move to get the US involved in the Middle East wars a "bad decision" and slammed those, who call on Washington to fight another "endless war", this time for the Kurds.