No, US is not completely withdrawing its forces from Syria
Washington, Feb 22: The US said on Thursday, February 21, that a small contingent of its troops will stay back in Syria even though President Donald Trump had ordered for a "full" withdrawal of its forces from the war-ravaged country.
In a statement, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said: "A small peace keeping group of about 200 will remain in Syria for (a) period of time."
In December last year, the US president ordered a "full" and "rapid" pull-out of the military from Syria saying that the Islamic State had been defeated.
The decision met strong criticism both within the US and outside as experts and Washington's allies predicted major security collapse as a result of such decision.
It was also said that the withdrawal would give countries like Russia, Turkey and Iran bigger influence in the region.
"We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency," Trump had tweeted at the time.
Question was raised subsequently over the security of the Kurds who helped the US against the IS in Syria, post its withdrawal, as Turkey was planning to launch an onslaught against the group that it considers to be its enemy.
Sound decision, says Republican senator who criticised Trump over withdrawal plan
The decision to keep 200 troops back was, however, welcomed by many.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham from South Carolina who had criticised Trump earlier for the withdrawal decision, praised the latter on Thursday saying leaving some troops behind as a peacekeeping force was a good idea as it will protect the gains that Washington made in Syria all these years, CNN reported.
"It will help to ensure that ISIS won't come back, Iran won't move to fill the vacuum and there won't be a conflict between Turkey and the Kurdish forces. ... This will prevent the debacle that occurred in Iraq to happen in Syria. It is a very sound decision."
The troops will remain between At-Tanf, an area near the Iraq-Jordan border and northeast Syria, according to a US official who has information about the planning process, the report added.