The US military is preparing to withdraw all American forces from Syria by the end of April, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday citing current and former US officials.
The military plans to pull a significant portion of its 2,000 troops out of the country by mid-March, with a full withdrawal scheduled for the end of April, the newspaper said.
The Pentagon declined to comment on the plans. “We are not discussing the timeline of the US withdrawal from Syria,” Navy Commander Sean Robertson told the paper.
Last week, President Trump said he believes that by next week he will be able to declare the defeat of the “physical caliphate” of ISIS.
Trump has ordered the military to end its presence in Syria, though there is no exact timetable and there are growing concerns about what a US absence would mean. Some European officials have expressed concern about a potential “vacuum” once the US withdraws.
The WSJ adds that the fight against ISIS in Syria still continues, with US-backed local forces, comprised largely of Kurdish and Arab fighters, pushing into the last stronghold still held by the extremists in the far east of the country.
Kurdish forces and their backers in the US Congress have increasingly expressed concern that without the US military as a buffer Turkey would follow through on threats to attack them. Trump has been in contact with Erdogan on this issue.