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Pentagon sustains budget for arming local anti-IS forces amid US pullout

The Donald Trump administration's envoy for Syria issues said the United States is keeping “very limited” numbers of troops in the country as the Pentagon continues to build up the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
American soldiers stand near military trucks, at al-Omar oil field in Deir Al Zor, Syria March 23, 2019. REUTERS/Rodi Said - RC168E86AEF0

The Donald Trump administration’s top envoy for Syria confirmed today that the United States would continue to keep a residual troop presence in the war-torn country for the foreseeable future to ensure the lasting defeat of the Islamic State (IS) even as the Pentagon begins to draw down troops.

As the US administration celebrated the capture of the last IS-held territory in Syria this weekend, James Jeffrey, the special representative for Syria engagement and special envoy for the US-led anti-IS coalition, added his voice to the list of officials who have walked back expectations of a complete withdrawal from the country. The comments come as the Defense Department is doubling down on its support for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in eastern Syria.

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