President Donald Trump falsely claimed on Thursday that the United States has no troops in Syria.
Trump was defending his decision to remove American troops from a part of northern Syria that Turkey wanted to attack. Speaking to reporters on the White House lawn, Trump asserted, “We have no soldiers in Syria.”
“We’ve won, we beat ISIS, and we beat ’em badly and decisively. We have no soldiers. The last thing I want to do is bring thousands and thousands of soldiers in and defeat everybody again. We’ve already done that,” Trump said.
Facts First: The US still has about 1,000 soldiers in Syria, military officials have told CNN and other news outlets, and the troops Trump removed from the area of the Turkish incursion offensive were not removed from the country
Jonathan Hoffman, chief Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement on Tuesday: “We have made no changes to our force presence in Syria at this time.”
Less than an hour after Trump made his Thursday claim that there are “no soldiers in Syria,” a senior State Department official told reporters that the US military mission in Syria is ongoing.
“We had and still have a significant military mission there to ensure the enduring defeat of ISIS, also to maintain the stability of northeast Syria and the region given our other critical missions in the Near East,” the official said on a conference call conducted on condition of anonymity.
Not only do we have troops in the region, but, well, the inevitable has happened:
A contingent of U.S. Special Forces has been caught up in Turkish shelling against U.S.-backed Kurdish positions in northern Syria, days after President Donald Trump told his Turkish counterpart he would withdraw U.S. troops from certain positions in the area.
Newsweek has learned through both an Iraqi Kurdish intelligence official and senior Pentagon official that Special Forces operating on Mashtenour hill in the majority-Kurdish city of Kobani fell under artillery fire from Turkish forces conducting their so-called “Operation Peace Spring” against Kurdish fighters backed by the U.S. but considered terrorist organizations by Turkey.
The senior Pentagon official said that Turkish forces should be aware of U.S. positions “down to the grid.” The official could not specify the exact number of personnel present, but indicated they were “small numbers below company level,” so somewhere between 15 and 100 troops.
Five Isis militants have broken out of a prison in northern Syria after Turkish shelling nearby, a spokesman in the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has said.
The detainees escaped from a prison in Qamishli city, Marvan Qamishlo said.
In times like these I calm myself by chanting my favorite soothing mantras- “pallets of money on the airstrip” and “but her emails.”