This was stated by the head of the Pentagon, Mark Esper, the Associated Press reports.
The pullback suggests a likely full withdrawal from Syria of the roughly 1,000 U.S. troops that had been partnering with the Kurds to combat the Islamic State group in northeastern Syria, although Esper did not say that U.S. troops are leaving the country.
The Pentagon previously had pulled about 30 troops from the Turkish attack zone along the border. With an escalation of violence, a widening of the Turkish incursion and the prospect of more confusing conflict, all U.S. forces along the border will now follow that move.
“We have American forces likely caught between two opposing advancing armies and it’s a very untenable situation,” Esper said.
The U.S. also has come to believe that the Kurds are attempting to “cut a deal” with the Syrian army and Russia to counter the invading Turks, he said. As a result, Trump “directed that we begin a deliberate withdrawal of forces from northern Syria,” Esper said.
Trump, in a tweet Sunday, said: “Very smart not to be involved in the intense fighting along the Turkish Border, for a change. Those that mistakenly got us into the Middle East Wars are still pushing to fight. They have no idea what a bad decision they have made. Why are they not asking for a Declaration of War?”
Esper said he would not discuss a timeline for the U.S. pullback, but said it would be done “as safely and quickly as possible.”
Esper did not say how many U.S. troops will leave the north, but he says they represent most of the 1,000 troops in Syria.