The United States will consider its campaign to counter the Islamic State terrorist group (outlawed in Russia), but will act from beyond the Syrian territory, a high-ranking US Department of Defense official told reporters.
"The Defeat-ISIS campaign will continue," the official, who wished to be anonymous, said in a publication posted on the Pentagon’s official website. "We have significant assets and personnel as well as coalition capabilities throughout the region that will continue to prosecute that campaign."
In his words, the Turkish military operation in Northern Syria has made the situation in the region a lot more complicated, but the US troops are ready to pursue their anti-IS goals under those changing conditions, TASS reports.
"We will adjust to new circumstances on the ground that create challenges, but we are pretty good at adapting and will continue to do so," the official said.
He said the majority of US personnel withdrawn from Syria will continue anti-ISIS operations from the adjacent territory of Iraq.
"The intent is to reposition and use what assets and personnel we have available to continue the mission," he added.
On October 9, Ankara launched an offensive in northern Syria dubbed Operation Peace Spring, which began with airstrikes on Kurdish units. The objective is to establish ‘a safe zone’ in northern Syria for protection of the Turkish border. In addition, Syrian refugees could return to that area from Turkey, Ankara believes. Syria’s SANA news agency slammed Ankara’s operation as an act of aggression. The international community criticized Ankara. SANA reported on Sunday evening that Damascus had reached an agreement with Kurdish groups to deploy troops to Syria’s north to offer resistance to the Turkish army.
According to an initial announcement made by President Donald Trump, the United States was prepared to withdraw about 50 US servicemen from a small sector where the Turkish military operation was supposed to take place. On October 13, US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper stated that the US is beginning to withdraw 1,000 troops from northern Syria as Turkey was probably preparing to advance westward and southward, further into the Syrian territory.