– 2019-01-05 21:52:09
State Dept Says No Timeline for Syria Withdrawal as Fighting Continues
US doesn’t intend to keep troops in Syria indefinitely
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
WASHINGTON (January 4, 2019) — A senior US State Department official declared Friday that the US “do not intend to have an indefinite military presence in Syria,” but also confirmed that there is no definite timeline for actually leaving.
This is roughly in line with what other US officials have said over the course of the past week, with some reports of a four-month timetable being quickly disavowed by President Trump. Trump has made clear he very explicitly never set any timeline for the process.
Which realistically leaves the US roughly where they were before Trump announced the pullout in the first place, with an effectively open-ended deployment in Syria fighting a shrinking ISIS presence.
While the administration seems keen to keep all the specifics of what they’re doing out of public view, despite polls showing a narrow majority supporting the US withdrawal from Syria, officials so far haven’t even addressed the big questions this ever-slowing process is raising.
In particular, the not-indefinite US presence in Syria very much looks to interfere with Turkey’s planned invasion of eastern Syria, which was originally supposed to be on hold pending US-Turkey coordination of the pullout. There has been no indication in recent days that such coordination is even considered anymore.
US Airstrikes Kill 11 Civilians in Eastern Syria Town
Four children reportedly among the slain
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(January 4, 2019) â€“ US airstrikes pounded the village of Kishkiyeh in eastern Syria on Friday, killing at least 11 civilians, according to activist group DeirEzzor 24. The death toll was later confirmed by the Syrian government.
The attacked village was on the outskirts of the town of Shofeh, one of three “ISIS towns” that have been getting pounded by US airstrikes for months. The Syrian government’s reported added that there were “huge property losses” related to the attack.
Among the 11 people killed, local groups identified two women and four children. The US has yet to make any comment on the matter, regarding either why the village was attacked or who was killed.
This is common for the US-led coalition when strikes had no obvious target and killed only civilians. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights noted that over 1,000 people have been killed in attacks against the three towns and the adjoining villages, and roughly 12,000 people have fled the area to escape fighting and airstrikes.
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