Trump: US troops won’t immediately return from Syria, ceasefire could be extended

WASHINGTON – U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday said he did not want to leave any American troops in Syria, but that U.S. forces leaving the country now would deploy elsewhere before eventually returning to the United States.

Trump, speaking at a meeting of his Cabinet at the White House, also said it appeared a five-day pause negotiated last week in the Turkish offensive against U.S.-allied Kurdish-led fighters in northern Syria was holding despite some skirmishes, and that it could possibly go beyond Tuesday’s expiration.

“I’m sure if we needed a little extension that would be happening,” he told reporters at the meeting.

Turkey began its cross-border operation following Trump’s decision two weeks ago to withdraw U.S. troops from the area. U.S officials said then that those troops were expected to be repositioned in the region. Some of them could go to Iraq.

A small number of U.S. troops would stay “in a little different section to secure the oil,” as well as in “a totally different section of Syria near Jordan and close to Israel,” Trump said on Monday.