US Troops Leaving Syria To Be Deployed In Iraq, Says Defence Chief

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US Defence Secretary Mark Esper, who left for the Middle East and Europe on October 19, said that the US troops leaving Syria will be deployed in Iraq.

Written By Kunal Gaurav | Mumbai | Updated On:
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US Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who left for the Middle East and Europe on October 19, stated that the US troops leaving Syria will be deployed in Iraq. Esper said the troops will continue operations against Islamic State, without denying the possibility of counter-terrorism missions into Syria from Iraq.

“One is to help defend Iraq and two is to perform a counter-ISIS mission as we sort through the next steps,” said Esper. “Things could change between now and whenever we complete the withdrawal, but that’s the game plan right now,” he added.

Read: India-US Trade Negotiations Going In Full Speed': Nirmala Sitharaman

US troops won't be coming home

Earlier, US President Donald Trump had said the troops will be back home after the withdrawal. “It’s time to bring our soldiers back home,” he had said. But Esper’s comments suggest otherwise and the soldiers won’t be coming back home. The Defence Secretary said the troops will ensure the prevention of any resurgence of the Islamic State. The Defense Secretary will meet Turkish and other European counterparts in Brussels and clarify his objective, which is to reinforce the importance of ‘ensuring a lasting political solution to the situation in Syria’.

Read: Turkish-backed Forces, Kurds Clash Despite Syria Cease-fire

Clashes amid ceasefire declaration

Esper didn’t divulge any details about the future missions against the Islamic State and said they have to work those details. Meanwhile, even after a US-brokered ceasefire, Kurdish forces clashed with the Turkish-backed Syrian fighters. Esper stated that overall it “generally seems to be holding”. “We see a stability of the lines, if you will, on the ground,” he added.

Read: More Than 2,300 Syrians Flee To Iraq Amidst Turkish Offensive

Trump and Erdogan on 'joint effort'

Trump, in a tweet, had confirmed the ceasefire between the Turkish forces and Kurdish fighters, to which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan replied that the ultimate goal is to defeat terrorism.

Read: Shelling Heard In Syrian Town After Turkish-US Ceasefire Deal

(With AP Inputs)

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