WASHINGTON (NBC) — The U.S. is preparing to withdraw a significant number of troops from Syria, according to two senior defense officials and one person familiar with the plan.
The two senior defense officials said the White House would announce the move as early as Wednesday.
President Trump declared on Twitter Wednesday morning: “We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.”
We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 19, 2018
The U.S. military confirms having 503 U.S. troops in Syria, even though defense officials acknowledge having more than 2,000 there at times. The military mission is to defeat ISIS but troops have also been used more for stabilization efforts in recent weeks.
Defense Secretary James Mattis announced the U.S. set up observation posts near the Turkish border earlier this month.
With even with a total withdrawal from Syria, the United States would still have a huge military presence in the Middle East with 5,200 troops across the border in Iraq.