About 200 U.S. peacekeepers are to remain in Syria

Coons: Trump’s Syria withdrawal “unsettled” allies

A peacekeeping group of about 200 will remain in Syria after the U.S. withdraws troops, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Thursday. 

The timeline for withdrawing troops, however, remains unclear, and the Trump administration has yet to announce the total defeat of the caliphate in Syria, as Mr. Trump said would happen.

“A small peacekeeping group of about 200 will remain in Syria for period of time,” Sanders confirmed to CBS News. 

The statement came soon after President Trump spoke by phone with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The two discussed Syria and agreed to continue coordinating on the creation of a potential safe zone.

Reuters first reported the rough number of peacekeepers who would remain. 

U.S.-backed forces have closed in on the last sliver of ISIS territory in Syria. The U.S. has had a force of roughly 2,000 troops there to support local fighters and direct U.S. air power against ISIS targets. 

Mr. Trump declared the defeat of ISIS in a tweet in December. 

“We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency,” the president tweeted in late December. 

— Reporting contributed by CBS News’ Sara Cook 

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