FILE PHOTO: A U.S military vehicle travels in the town of Amuda, northern Syria April 29, 2017. REUTERS/Rodi Said/File Photo
ANKARA (Reuters) - The U.S. military is preparing to withdraw American forces from Syria by the end of April and a significant portion of them will be out by the middle of March, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing current and former U.S. officials.
A U.S. official confirmed the April target to Reuters, saying the withdrawal included a pull-out from the U.S. military base at Tanf, near the Syrian border with Iraq and Jordan.
President Donald Trump announced in December he was pulling all 2,000 U.S. troops out of Syria, saying the battle against Islamic State there was almost won.
The president's sudden decision surprised many in his own administration as well as coalition allies such as Turkey and an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias that fought Islamic State with U.S. military support.
Washington has been trying to reach agreement with Turkey, which considers the U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish YPG militia a terrorist organization, for the safety of the YPG fighters after it pulls out. It is also discussing setting up a safe zone along the border to address Turkish security concerns.
Asked about the WSJ report, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State in Syria and Iraq referred Reuters to comments by Pentagon spokesman Commander Sean Robertson, who declined to discuss the pull-out timeline.
A Turkish official said the United States had not signaled to Ankara a date when the U.S. withdrawal from Syria would be completed.
An official from the Syrian Democratic Forces, the U.S.-backed alliance which is spearheaded by the YPG, told Reuters: "What we know is that so far there is no withdrawal, and the situation on the ground is unchanged. There is no discussion to set any date or time ceiling (for a withdrawal)".
(Reporting by Sarah Dadouch in Ankara and Tom Perry in Beirut; Editing by Angus MacSwan)
Long before Tony Stark took a load of shrapnel to the chest in a distant war zone, science fiction legend Robert Heinlein gave America the most visceral description of powered armor for the warfighter of the future. Forget the spines of extra-lethal weaponry, the heads-up display, and even the augmented strength of an Iron Man suit — the real genius, Heinlein wrote in Starship Troopers, "is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it, like your clothes, like skin."
"Any sort of ship you have to learn to pilot; it takes a long time, a new full set of reflexes, a different and artificial way of thinking," explains Johnny Rico. "Spaceships are for acrobats who are also mathematicians. But a suit, you just wear."
First introduced in 2013, U.S. Special Operations Command's Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) purported to offer this capability as America's first stab at militarized powered armor. And while SOCOM initially promised a veritable Iron Man-style tactical armor by 2018, a Navy spokesman told Task & Purpose the much-hyped exoskeleton will likely never get off the launch pad.
"The prototype itself is not currently suitable for operation in a close combat environment," SOCOM spokesman Navy Lt. Phillip Chitty told Task & Purpose, adding that JATF-TALOS has no plans for an external demonstration this year. "There is still no intent to field the TALOS Mk 5 combat suit prototype."
U.S. troops patrol at an Afghan National Army (ANA) Base in Logar province, Afghanistan on August 7, 2018. (Reuters/Omar Sobhani/File Photo)
MUSCAT/KABUL (Reuters) - Even before any peace push-related drawdowns, the U.S. military is expected to trim troop levels in Afghanistan as part of an efficiency drive by the new commander, a U.S. general told Reuters on Friday, estimating the cuts may exceed 1,000 forces.
Maj. Matthew Golsteyn in Afghanistan. (Photo courtesy of Philip Stackhouse.)
An Army investigator involved in the case of a Green Beret charged with murder has been suspended from his duties and charged with stolen valor, according to Dan Lamothe at The Washington Post.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Mark Delacruz, who has been a special agent with the Army's Criminal Investigation Command for more than four years, was charged with "unauthorized wear of a Purple Heart, Air Assault Badge, Pathfinder Badge and Combat Action Badge and is accused of submitting a package to an Army promotion board that stated he earned a Purple Heart when he did not," the Post wrote, citing a CID spokesman.