U.S. Equipment, but Not Troops, Begins Exiting Syria in Chaotic Withdrawal

The American military has started withdrawing some equipment, but no troops yet, from Syria as part of President Trump’s order to wind down that battleground against the Islamic State, two Defense Department officials said on Friday amid continuing confusion over plans to disengage from one of the Middle East’s most complex conflicts.

The officials said the number of American troops might actually increase slightly in Syria, to help protect the final process of pulling out — an operation that is still expected to take at least four to six months to complete.

There are currently about 2,000 troops — mostly Army soldiers and Marines — in northeast Syria or in the Middle Euphrates River Valley to oust the remaining pockets of Islamic State fighters and secure newly-liberated areas from their return.

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