Pentagon Refutes Reports That US Troops Left Bases in Syria, Says Mission Not Changing
22:25 GMT 02.09.2021 (Updated: 05:36 GMT 30.04.2023)
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - A Defense Department spokesperson told Sputnik that the reports of US troops leaving some of its military posts in Syria are not true, adding that the military's mission in that country has not changed.
Iran's Al-Alam news outlet reported, citing a military source, that US forces have evacuated three bases inside Syria, including a post near al-Omar oilfield in Deir Ez-Zor province.
"It's not true, our mission in Syria remains the same," the Defense Department spokesperson said on Thursday. "We checked on it this morning to confirm."
The US and its allies have been conducting a ground military operation in war-torn Syria since 2014, supporting the rebels and the Syrian Democratic Forces. The Syrian authorities have repeatedly stressed that the government did not give the US permission to conduct operations, and it considers the US military presence as an illegal occupation, which is accompanied by the plunder of the natural resources belonging to the people of the country.
Since 2015, the American command has established nine military bases in eastern and northeastern Syria. Four of them are located near the oil fields in Deir ez-Zor, and five more in the neighboring province of Al-Hasakah, which is widely considered the granary of Syria.
At the end of 2019, then-US President Donald Trump approved a plan according to which several hundred US troops would remain in the nation, and one of their main tasks would be to ensure control over the oil fields in the northeast and east.
The Pentagon previously estimated its presence in the country to be 900 troops.