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US says 200 troops to remain in Syria after forces’ withdrawal

Instead of a complete withdrawal of US forces from Syria, as US President Donald Trump initially wanted, government spokeswoman Sarah Sanders has stated that “[a] small peacekeeping group of about 200 will remain in Syria for a period of time.” The announcement followed a phone call between Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in which the leaders agreed to “continue coordinating on the creation of a potential safe zone” in Syria.

Trump’s initial plan to call back all 2,000 US soldiers that are in Syria to fight Islamic State, was widely criticized in the US, including in the Republican party, as well as abroad. The new plan may result in European allies sending new troops to Syria, which is something they have refused to do in the absence of guarantees that the US will maintain a military presence in the country.

Read more: US says 200 troops to remain in Syria after forces’ withdrawal

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