What Happened: U.S. President Donald Trump is reportedly considering leaving a small force of roughly 200 U.S. troops in eastern Syria to protect oil fields in the area against the Islamic State and the Syrian government, The New York Times reported Oct. 20.
Why It Matters: Keeping a small presence in eastern Syria could allow the United States to maintain at least a limited partnership with the Syrian Democratic Forces, although it would leave U.S. assets in the area vulnerable to advancing Russian-backed Syrian government troops.
Background: The Trump administration recently ordered the U.S. military to withdraw all of its forces from Syria except 150 troops that would remain near the al-Tanf border crossing where Iraq, Jordan and Syria meet.
- In Syria, Turkey and the U.S. Reach a Fragile Cease-Fire (Oct. 18, 2019)
- Syria: As the U.S. Withdraws, a Dangerous Race Begins (Oct. 14, 2019)
- Turkey Races the Clock as Its Ground Forces Enter Syria (Oct. 10, 2019)