General Joseph Votel, chief of the US Central Command, hinted to reporters travelling with him to the Middle East for his farewell tour on February 10th that the withdrawal of US troops from Syria will likely start within “weeks.”
The top US commander in the war against Isis said that the exact timing would remain relative to the situation in the war-torn country, where some 2,000 US troops have been assisting a Syrian Arab and Kurdish alliance fighting against Isis terrorists.
For now, Votel was definitive that all US troops will leave Syria but he would not put a public timeline on when it will be completed, CNN said.
“The President's orders are very clear to us. We understand exactly what he has directed,” Votel said.
When asked if the pull-out would occur within days or weeks, Votel said, "Probably weeks. But again, it will all be driven by the situation on the ground." The general did not speculate on how long it would take to complete the pull-out.
President Trump in December announced plans to withdraw all 2,000 US troops from Syria. Trump has received criticism from Republicans, Democrats, and some foreign officials for what they have called a hastily planned withdrawal of the troops, with many saying it leaves Kurdish allies at the mercy of a long-threatened offensive by Turkey.
“I'm very proud of the coalition force team that we have on the ground who's assisting our Syrian Democratic force partners in what will be difficult fighting,” Votel told reporters according to CNN.
“Urban terrain, high density of explosive hazards in the area and the presence of displaced persons and others who are attempting to depart the area.” He added that in the last 24 hours, operations were resumed in the Middle Euphrates Valley and are currently underway.