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00:00:01
>> US official telling Reuters on Wednesday that President Donald Trump has ordered a withdrawal of all US troops in Syria, although the timing of the pull out remains unclear. Trump on Wednesday tweeting, we have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.
00:00:18
The White House adding in a statement that we have started returning United States troops home as we transition to the next phase of this campaign. Trump has long expressed a desire to bring US forces in Syria home.>> You're inclined to pull the troops out?>> I wanna get out, I wanna bring our troops back home.
00:00:35
>> But American military leaders, including Defense Secretary, James Mattis, have cautioned against the withdrawal, warning it could create a vacuum where Islamic state could reemerge. Reuters correspondent, Idrees Ali, is at the Pentagon.>> In the past few days we have heard senior officials saying the job's not done, we need to stay here.
00:00:52
Not only defeat ISIS in the physical caliphate but we need to stay there to stabilize the country. So what's happened today is really actually quite a reversal and in contradiction to what a lot of Trump's senior State Department and Pentagon officials have been saying really for the past few months.
00:01:09
That the US needs to stay not just when ISIS is defeated but stay there to make sure that it doesn't resurge.>> Roughly 2,000 US troops, primarily special forces, are advising Kurdish and Arab fighters called the Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF.>> There's quite a bit of concern in this building about what this would mean for US partnered forces, specifically the Syrian Democratic Forces.
00:01:31
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ey have been the most competent fighters against Islamic State. Really, the fact is that this is gonna be quite demoralizing for the SDF. And I don't see how they see this as a positive in any way.>> But American support for the SDF is raising tensions with NATO ally Turkey, which sees the Kurdish fighters as part of a militant group it blames for terror attacks in Turkey.
00:02:00
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has threatened military action against the SDF. Some analysts also warn an American withdrawal could empower Russian and Iranian influence in Syria and cede control of the country to the Assad regime.
SOUND] W
ich is accused of brutal tactics and using chemical weapons against civilians, and of course, a serious, bloody civil war.
00:02:21
>> I think if you're a US adversary in a foreign capital, you are cheering this. If you're a US ally anywhere in the world, you're looking quite concerned, cuz this is the latest example of US isolationism.>> A US official telling Reuters on Wednesday that all State Department staff will be evacuated from Syria in the next 24 hours.