The White House said Thursday that a small contingent of US troops will remain. Sen. Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, applauded the decision. “This will ensure ISIS does not return and Iran does not fill the vacuum that would have been left if we completely withdrew,” he said. “A small peace keeping group of about 200 will remain in Syria for (a) period of time,” White House press secretary Sanders announced. The 200 troops who will remain will be divided between At-Tanf, an area near the Iraq-Jordan border, and northeast Syria, according to a US official.
They would be able to provide unique high-end capabilities such as logistics, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and calling in airstrikes that would help encourage coalition countries like France and the United Kingdom to also keep their troops in Syria up to a total of 1,500. The US currently has more than 2,000 troops in Syria, where they are primarily helping the Syrian Democratic Forces in their campaign against ISIS. The US announcement came after a phone call between President Trump and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in which the two leaders agreed to create a “safe zone” in Syria. Some have worried that Russia and Iran would fill the vacuum created by a U.S. pullout.