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US announces full withdrawal from northern Syria as Turkish forces advance

Defense Secretary Mark Esper says the United States will be withdrawing all troops from northeastern Syria and that he expects Syrian Kurds to seek aid from Russia and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

A top US official announced today that the United States would be pulling out all of its forces from northeastern Syria, leaving its Syrian Kurdish allies exposed to Turkey’s ongoing military offensive as it entered its fifth day — a move that will likely go down as a further betrayal of the Kurdish people by the United States.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told CBS News that around 1,000 US troops deployed in the Kurdish-controlled zone to combat the Islamic State (IS) will be evacuating the area covering around a third of Syria. “It's a very untenable situation. I spoke with the president last night after discussions with the rest of the national security team and he directed that we begin a deliberate withdrawal of forces from Syria,” Esper said, adding that he expected Turkey to expand its attack farther south than planned and that the Kurds were likely to turn to Russia and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for help.

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