Some U.S. troops may stay in Syria: Pentagon chief

KABUL (Reuters) – The United States is considering keeping some troops in northeastern Syria to stop oil falling into the hands of Islamic State or others but no decision has yet been made, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said.

“We have troops in towns in northeast Syria that are located next to the oil fields, the troops in those towns are not in the present phase of withdrawal,” Esper told reporters during a visit to Afghanistan.

The SDF, spearheaded by the Kurdish YPG militia, has been the main partner for the U.S.-led coalition in Syria.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has warned that Ankara will resume its military assault in Syria when the deadline expires if the SDF have not pulled back from its proposed “safe zone” area spanning the border.

Ankara considers the YPG a terrorist group because of its links to Kurdish insurgents in southeast Turkey.

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