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Last eastern Ghouta rebels poised to surrender: Syrian state media

05 April, 2018, 00:58 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • Donald Trump

Also on Sunday, Hezbollah media said that an agreement had been reached with the rebel group to evacuate fighters to Jarablus, a town in northern Syria near the border with Turkey.

A British armed forces member also was killed and five other people were wounded in Thursday's bombing- a rare attack since the US -led coalition sent troops into the country.

The White House has instructed the State Department to freeze over $200 million in funds earmarked for "recovery efforts" in Syria, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

Trump called for the freeze after reading a news report that the USA had recently committed an additional $200 million to stabilize areas recaptured from Islamic State, the paper said. Then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced the funding last month at an aid conference in Kuwait.

US President Donald Trump flanked by daughter Ivanka and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (L) speaks during a tour of the H&K Equipment Company in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania on January 18, 2018.

Those remarks threw State Department officials off balance.

Trump is spending Easter weekend at his Palm Beach, Florida, estate.

President Donald Trump's unscripted remark this week about pulling out of Syria "very soon", while at odds with his own policy, was not a one-off: For weeks, top advisers have been fretting about an overly hasty withdrawal as the president has increasingly told them privately he wants out, USA officials said. "Let the other people take care of it now", Mr Trump promised in an address to industrial workers in Ohio. We'll be coming out of Syria, like, very soon. "We're going to get back to our country, where we belong, where we want to be".

The American and British soldiers killed last week in Manbij, Syria were "conducting a mission to kill or capture a known ISIS member", Pentagon spokesperson Maj. The U.S. military presence in Syria has been seen as a buffer against unchecked Iranian activity, and especially against Tehran's desire to establish a contiguous land route from Iran to the Mediterranean coast in Lebanon.




Thousands of rebels, their families and other civilians have already departed other parts of eastern Ghouta for Idlib province, another insurgent-held area of northern Syria.

But by mid-February, Trump was telling his top aides in meetings that as soon as victory can be declared against IS, he wanted American troops out of Syria, said the officials.

In contrast, Defense Secretary James Mattis and former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have said repeatedly that those troops will remain and the civilian presence will increase as the USA works to prevent a new terror group from forming.

Such a policy is nowhere near complete, however, the official added.

Syria's conflict has killed more than 350,000 people since 2011, and spiralled into a complex war involving world powers.

Officials told AFP that Mr Trump's aside in his speech was not a slip, but that for several weeks he had been resisting the idea of a long- or medium-term U.S. commitment to stabilising eastern Syria after the defeat of ISIS.

Dunbar was assigned to the headquarters of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Engel believes that in both Iraq and Afghanistan, the US military pulled out prematurely and was then forced to go back.

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