'Very small number' of troops pulled from Syria-Turkey border: US official

The Syria-Turkey border has become a geo-political football involving the US. (iStock)
The Syria-Turkey border has become a geo-political football involving the US. (iStock)

The United States has pulled back a "very small number" of troops from areas of northern Syria along the Turkish border, a senior State Department official said Monday, after President Donald Trump seemed to indicate a wider retreat.

The pullback only concerns "two very small detachments" - meaning less than 25 people in total - that have been moved a "very short distance," the official said.

The announcement of the redeployment was interpreted as an American green light for a Turkish military operation against Kurdish forces in northeast Syria.

But the State Department official insisted that Trump had clearly told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the US did not endorse any such operation - a message also conveyed by the Pentagon.

"We think this operation is a very bad idea. We do not think this operation will provide more security," the official said.

He said that beyond the small pullback of troops, "there's no change to our military posture in the northeast."

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