By Kasim Ileri
The U.S. force posture in Syria remains unchanged, Pentagon spokesman Sean Robertson told Anadolu Agency on Thursday.
“While we are working to implement the President’s direction to withdraw troops from Syria in a deliberate an coordinated manner, Force levels will be dictated by conditions on the ground,” Robertson said.
Details regarding the numbers or timelines would not be discussed “for security reasons,” he said.
The New York Times reported earlier Thursday that the Pentagon is poised to send nearly 150 troops to northeastern Syria “to conduct ground patrols with Turkish forces.”
Safe zone establishment
Referring to the formation of a safe zone along the Turkish border in Syria, Robertson said: “The United States has taken steps to implement the provisions of the security mechanism rapidly and in some cases ahead of schedule.”
“We are committed to working closely with our Turkish Ally precisely to enhance our cooperation, coordination, and consultation,” he added.
On Aug. 7, Turkish and U.S. military officials agreed to set up a safe zone in northern Syria and develop a peace corridor to facilitate the movement of displaced Syrians who want to return home. They also agreed to establish a joint operations center.
The agreement also envisaged setting up necessary security measures to address Turkey’s security concerns, including clearing the zone of the terrorist YPG/PKK, a group the U.S. has sometimes been allied with, over Turkey’s objections.
The U.S., which considers the PKK a terrorist organization, changed the YPG’s name to the Syrian Democratic Forces in July 2017 to dissociate it with the PKK.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU — has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women and children. The YPG is the group’s Syrian branch.
* Writing by Jeyhun Aliyev from Ankara