Potential Shifts on US Strategy in Syria

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The Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staffs is denying a Wall Street Journal report that claimed at least 1,000 US troops would remain in Syria. Gen. Joseph Dunford released a statement calling the claims “factually inaccurate” and assured the public of the Pentagon’s commitment to a steady withdrawal: “We continue to implement the president’s direction to draw down U.S. forces to a residual presence.” President Trump made waves across the national security community when he announced his original plan in December of the complete withdrawal of all 2,000 US troops from Syria. Later, the administration announced that 400 troops would most likely stay in southern Syria to monitor possible Iranian arms shipments to Lebanese-based terror groups such as Hezbollah. No specific estimates have been made as to the number of troops, although Pentagon officials have confirmed that any new amount will almost certainly will be lower. Although the President initially supported shifting troops from Syria to Iraq, concerns from Iraqi politicians about the US using its regional presence to spy on Iran have negated any support for such an initiative.

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