The Trump administration will withdraw all of the approximately 2,000 American troops in Syria, according to a U.S. official, as the White House declared victory in the mission to defeat Islamic State militants there.
Behind the scenes, Israel has supported a continuing US presence, arguing that it helps counter pro-Iranian forces such as Hezbollah.
"Of course, Donald Trump back in March of 2018 said that we were gonna be out of Syria 'very soon.' What happened after that was within the next week there was a supposed chemical weapons incident, and all the talk about withdrawing troops was forgotten", Sterling said.
The U-turn in policy was made by President Trump, who has consistently spoken of his desire to get out of Syria, according to a USA defense official.
The US president hinted that American forces could withdraw from the conflict, saying that tackling the militant group was the "only reason" for being in Syria.
The Trump administration said the United States stood ready with its allies "to re-engage at all levels to defend American interests whenever necessary".
Although Trump campaigned on the promise to pull USA troops out of Syria, some within the DoD have suggested that the announcement is coming now to deflect from the reams of bad press he is receiving for the myriad scandals that have enveloped him and his administration.
"It is a USA decision, we respect the decision made by the administration", Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon said Wednesday.
The Kurdish Workers Party has a feminist ideology and promotes gender equality
Complete withdrawal would still leave a large U.S. military presence in the region, with 5,200 troops stationed in neighbouring Iraq.
The decision and Trump's assertion that the Islamic State had been defeated also drew immediate criticism from close allies of the president in Congress, where lawmakers of both parties were blindsided by today's news.
The deliberations on US troops come as Ankara threatens a new offensive in Syria.
Just last week Turkey warned it was planning to launch an operation against US-backed Kurdish militias in northern Syria "in the next few days". The developments come after the US State Department late on Tuesday signaled it would support the sale of a American missile defense system to Turkey - an effort that had been held up by Ankara's decision to buy a Russian system. It was not immediately clear if there was a connection between the Patriot sale and the decision on USA troops.
The decision to withdraw was first reported by The Wall Street Journal. He added that the US-backed Kurdish fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) would feel "abandoned" and that the move "is an Obama-like decision".
The Pentagon recently said that IS now controls just 1 percent of the territory they originally held.
"This move will look like a 'withdrawal, ' not a 'victory, ' and yet more evidence of the risky unpredictability of the USA president", Lister said.
"There's no question the ISIS, the caliphate, is shrinking, but they still have a presence in Syria", Ben Cardin, a senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told VOA.
Damascus, on the other hand, has protested the USA establishment of a de facto parallel state in areas under SDF control, rather than having them restored to Syrian government rule.