US preparing for ‘full’ withdrawal from Syria: Report

Washington: US President Donald Trump is planning a “full” and “rapid” withdrawal of American troops from Syria, CNN reported on Wednesday citing a defence official.

The decision would be a reversal from previously stated US policy. Trump had promised earlier this year to pull American troops out of Syria “very soon”.

According to the report, even though the US will continue to maintain troops in Iraq with the capability of launching strikes into Syria, its withdrawal of ground forces would fulfil a major goal of Syria, Iran and Russia and risked diminishing America’s influence in the region.

The US has about 2,000 troops on the ground in the country, where they are primarily training local forces to combat the Islamic State, CNN said.

The US-led coalition recently denied any change to the US presence in Syria. “Any reports indicating a change in the US position with respect” to the American military presence in Syria “is false and designed to sow confusion and chaos,” the coalition said in a statement earlier this month.

General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had said that the US needed to train thousands of local fighters to ensure a lasting defeat of the terror group.