WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is preparing to evacuate about 1,000 US troops from northern Syria, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Sunday in an interview with CBS's Face the Nation program.
The statement came after US President Donald Trump suddenly changed policy and withdrew some US troops who were in the region to support Kurdish forces in fighting the Islamic State terrorist group.
Trump's decision helped pave the way for Turkey to attack the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.
"In the last 24 hours, we learned that the Turks are likely to extend their attack further south and west than initially planned, and we also learned that the SDF is seeking an agreement with the Syrians and the Russians to launch a counter-attack on the Turks in the north, the status of US forces can not continue as it is. "
He continued: "I spoke with Trump last night, and directed the US military to begin a deliberate withdrawal of troops from northern Syria