No, The US Military Has Not Started Pulling Troops From Syria

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President Trump Discusses Syria

The U.S. military has begun withdrawing some cargo but none of the roughly 2,000 troops from Syria, a U.S. official told Task & Purpose on Friday.


It is the latest move in the military's on-again, off-again withdrawal from Syria, which President Donald Trump first announced on Dec. 19. Then-Defense Secretary James Mattis was reportedly so incensed that the U.S. military was abandoning its Kurdish allies in Syria that he resigned the next day.

The president initially claimed that ISIS in Syria had defeated and U.S. troops would leave rapidly. "Our boys, our young women, our men, they're all coming back; and they're coming back now," Trump said in a Dec. 19 video posted on Twitter.

Since then, the president has insisted that he never gave a time line for pulling all U.S. troops from Syria and National Security Advisor Ambassador John Bolton said this week that the U.S. military would only leave Syria if Turkey guaranteed the safety of Kurds there – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan refused to meet Bolton over this issue.

White House officials did not respond to requests for comment on Friday morning.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, an Army veteran who lost both of her legs in Iraq when her helicopter was shot down, issued a statement on Friday criticizing the president's approach to Syria.

"It's clear the Trump administration has no unified strategy and that's putting our military in a very difficult situation as they try to carry out and execute the president's orders," said Duckworth (D-Ill.) "Despite President Trump telling the American people that 'We have won against ISIS,' the U.S. military appears to disagree with his assessment and clearly believes the fight against ISIS must continue.

"That is why I am alarmed about how a rushed withdrawal without conditions could empower ISIS and endanger our Kurdish allies in the Syrian Democratic Forces. I have seen no real plans to prevent Turkey from attacking the Kurdish forces that have been our most effective and reliable allies in an unstable region. They have served alongside our military combatting ISIS and betraying them would be disgraceful."

UPDATE: This story was updated at 5:50 p.m. on Jan. 11 with Sen. Tammy Duckworth's comments.

SEE ALSO: How The US Went From 'Rapid Withdrawal' To 'No Timeline' In Syria

WATCH NEXT: When Mattis Met Bolton


An Austrian Jagdkommando K9 unit conducts training (Austrian Armed Forces photo)

An Austrian soldier was apparently killed by two military working dogs that he was charged with feeding, the Austrian Ministry of Defense announced on Thursday.

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Conflict photographer Lynsey Addario has seen a hell of a lot of combat over the past twenty years. She patrolled Afghanistan's Helmand Province with the Marines, accompanied the Army on night raids in Baghdad, took artillery fire with rebel fighters in Libya, and has taken photos in countless other wars and humanitarian disasters around the world.

Along the way, Addario captured images of plenty of women serving with pride in uniform, not only in the U.S. armed forces, but also on the battlefields of Syria, Colombia, South Sudan and Israel. Her photographs are the subject of a new article in the November 2019 special issue of National Geographic, "Women: A Century of Change," the magazine's first-ever edition written and photographed exclusively by women.

The photos showcase the wide range of goals and ideals for which these women took up arms. Addario's work includes captivating vignettes of a seasoned guerrilla fighter in the jungles of Colombia; a team of Israeli military police patrolling the streets of Jerusalem; and a unit of Kurdish women guarding ISIS refugees in Syria. Some fight to prove themselves, others seek to ignite social change in their home country, and others do it to liberate other women from the grip of ISIS.

Addario visited several active war zones for the piece, but she found herself shaken by something much closer to home: the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island, South Carolina.

Addario discussed her visit to boot camp and her other travels in an interview with Task & Purpose, which has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

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My brother earned the Medal of Honor for saving countless lives — but only after he was left for dead

"As I learned while researching a book about John, the SEAL ground commander, Cmdr. Tim Szymanski, had stupidly and with great hubris insisted on insertion being that night."

Opinion

Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.

Air Force Master Sgt. John "Chappy" Chapman is my brother. As one of an elite group, Air Force Combat Control — the deadliest and most badass band of brothers to walk a battlefield — John gave his life on March 4, 2002 for brothers he never knew.

They were the brave men who comprised a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) that had been called in to rescue the SEAL Team 6 team (Mako-30) with whom he had been embedded, which left him behind on Takur Ghar, a desolate mountain in Afghanistan that topped out at over 10,000 feet.

As I learned while researching a book about John, the SEAL ground commander, Cmdr. Tim Szymanski, had stupidly and with great hubris insisted on insertion being that night. After many delays, the mission should and could have been pushed one day, but Szymanski ordered the team to proceed as planned, and Britt "Slab" Slabinski, John's team leader, fell into step after another SEAL team refused the mission.

But the "plan" went even more south when they made the rookie move to insert directly atop the mountain — right into the hands of the bad guys they knew were there.

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Photo: ABC News/screenshot

Federal court judge Reggie Walton in Washington D.C. has ruled Hoda Muthana, a young woman who left her family in Hoover, Alabama, to join ISIS, is not a U.S. citizen, her attorneys told AL.com Thursday.

The ruling means the government does not recognize her a citizen of the United States, even though she was born in the U.S.

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Editor's Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. -- The Marine Corps could train as many as eight co-ed companies at boot camp each year, and the general overseeing the effort is hitting back against those complaining that the move is lowering training standards.

"Get over it," Maj. Gen. William Mullen, the head of Training and Education Command told Military.com on Thursday. "We're still making Marines like we used to. That has not changed."

Mullen, a career infantry officer who has led troops in combat — including in Fallujah, Iraq — said Marines have likely been complaining about falling standards since 1775.

"I'm assuming that the second Marine walking into Tun Tavern was like 'You know ... our standards have gone down. They're just not the same as it they used to be,'" Mullen said, referring to the service's famous birthplace. "That has always been going on in the history of the Marine Corps."

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