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Home / World / US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper "prepares to evacuate all remaining troops from northern Syria," he says today in "Face the Nation"

US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper "prepares to evacuate all remaining troops from northern Syria," he says today in "Face the Nation"



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Updated October 13, 2019 at 8:45 EDT

Washington – The US is preparing to "evacuate" about 1,000 US troops from northern Syria as safely and quickly as possible, "said Defense Secretary Mark Esper Nation. in an interview that aired on Sunday.

The move took place one week after President Trump announced the repositioning of several dozen US troops with Kurdish forces in northern Syria, Syrian Defense Forces (SDF), the main US allies in the fight against IS.

"In the last 24 hours we learned that [the Turks] probably intends to extend their attack farther south than originally planned and to the west." Esper said. "We have also learned in the last 24 hours that the … SDF are trying to reach a deal with the Syrians and Russians to carry out counter-attacks against the Turks in the north."

Esper said "Face the Nation" The troops remaining in the country were trapped between Turkish forces and the SDF. According to the United Nations, more than 1

00,000 internally displaced people are fleeing violence.

"So we are in a situation where American forces are likely to be caught between two opposing advancing armies, and that's a very untenable situation," Esper said. "So after talking to the rest of the national security team last night, I talked to the President and ordered him to start a targeted withdrawal of the Armed Forces from northern Syria."

Asked if the US had the authority to return the fire Esper said US troops have "the right to defend themselves and we would do it if necessary."

Shortly after the first retreat last week, Turkey started its attack and attacked the northern part of the country. On Saturday, the fourth day of the offensive, Turkish troops conquered an important border town of the SDF. ISIS prisoners also managed to escape imprisonment when Turkish artillery hit a prison camp.

While the US move is a gift to the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, it is considered a serious betrayal of the Kurds who have spent years fighting alongside the US forces to defeat ISIS. The Kurds, former US officials and high-ranking Republican legislators have warned that the US withdrawal from the region could give IS space for reconstruction, and they have conveyed the message that the US is ready to give up its close allies if the US change political winds.

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