American soldiers in Syria (Picture: US Department of Defense).
Syria

US To Keep 200 'Peacekeeping' Troops In Syria

US President Donald Trump previously announced all American troops in Syria would be withdrawn.

American soldiers in Syria (Picture: US Department of Defense).

American personnel in Syria last year (Picture: US Department of Defense).

Around 200 American troops are to remain in Syria on a peacekeeping mission after the rest of its forces are withdrawn. 

In December, President Donald Trump surprised allies and his own advisers when he ordered a rapid withdrawal of all 2,000 US soldiers in the country.

President Trump claimed the so-called Islamic State (IS) was "doomed", adding it was "time to come home and rebuild".

US Marines in Syria (Picture: US Department of Defense).
US Marines in Syria (Picture: US Department of Defense).

Following President Trump's announcement, then-Defense Secretary General James Mattis resigned stating "you [President Trump] have a right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours".

This was then followed by an announcement last month that the US-led military coalition had begun the process of withdrawing troops from Syria.

Confirming that some US troops will now remain in the country, a White House spokeswoman said: "A small peacekeeping group of about 200 will remain in Syria for a period of time".

The decision was made after a phone call between President Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayying Erdogan in which they agreed to "continue coordinating on the creation of a potential safe zone", the statement added.   

Earlier this week, a top US politician expressed his concerns over a "hasty withdrawal" of troops in Syria.

 Syrian are being evacuated from Zamlka in Syria's eastern Al-Ghouta province outside Damascus
Syria has been war-torn since 2011 (Picture: PA).

Democrat Senator Chris Coons warned a clear-cut victory in the conflict was "unlikely" and that the US can still "lose decisively"

One expert told Forces News that a fast US withdrawal, which President Trump originally wanted, could create "a security vacuum" in the country for IS. 

Syria has been a war-torn country since 2011 with many sides involved in the fighting.

Kurdish-led forces have been fighting IS, also known as Daesh, in their last stronghold in eastern Syria.

They launched the offensive to end the IS presence in Syria in September, a battle that left hundreds of fighters dead on both sides.