US troops won’t leave Syria until job is done: Pentagon spokesperson
CANSU ÇAMLIBEL - WASHINGTON
U.S. troops in Syria will stay in the war-torn country until the job is done, a spokesperson for the Pentagon has said, underlining that there is still a lot of work to accomplish, like defeating ISIL and establishing security for the Syrian people.
“We will look at a change in our forces in Syria when ISIS has been defeated and security has been established for Syrian citizens. There’s still a lot of work to do. ISIS has not been defeated,” Pentagon spokesperson Eric Pahon said in an interview with daily Hürriyet on Sept. 11, using another acronym of ISIL.
Pahon’s remarks were in response to questions over reports the U.S. had changed its policy towards Syria and decided not to pull back from the war-torn country soon. The reports were based on a statement by James Jeffrey, the State Department’s special representative for Syria, who had embarked on a regional tour last week that included Israel, Jordan and Turkey.
Jeffrey was quoted as saying that the U.S. troops stationed in the eastern Euphrates River will continue to stay in Syria, stressing, “The new policy is we’re no longer pulling out by the end of the year… That means we are not in a hurry.”
“I understand this claim that President [Donald] Trump has a new strategy... it is the same exact thing we are saying and what he has been saying all along. The president did not say ‘we are going to have our troops out by the end of the year.’ He said ‘very, very soon.’ That’s what we’re working toward, but again, we can’t rush this, or we’ll be right back fighting ISIS version 2,” Pahon stated.
“There is still a lot work to do. Absolutely nothing has changed. The president said that and we said it is conditions based. The president himself has said we will not be tied to a pre-determined or arbitrary timeline. We’ll make adjustments as we make progress,” he added, while elaborating when the troops would be withdrawn from Syria.
No Turkish troops inside Manbij
On Turkey’s complaints that the U.S. is delaying the implementation of the Manbij deal that seeks the withdrawal of the YPG from the city, Pahon cited the complexity of the issue.
“It is not simple. We want to make sure we do this right for everyone’s safety and security, both for us, for Turkish soldiers, and for the people of Manbij,” he said, noting technical preparations for a joint patrol with the Turkish army.
Pahon said Turkish troops will not enter Manbij’s city center, according to the road map brokered between the two countries’ foreign ministers in early June.
“The Turks are not going to come into Manbij for the foreseeable future. No, they will not be in the city limits of Manbij,” he said, adding “the combined patrols are not going to take place in the city center. They are outside the city.”