The U..S has started withdrawing troops from Syria on Friday, The New York Times reported, despite the Trump administration saying as recently as this week that they planned to handle it totally differently.
The U.S.-led, 79-nation coalition against ISIS has now begun "our deliberate withdrawal from Syria," The Times cited Col. Sean Ryan, the spokesman for the alliance, as saying.
He did not provide any more information about "specific timelines, locations or troop movements," The Times said. Business Insider has contacted the Department of Defense and the State Department for comment.
The news comes after weeks of chaotic mixed messages, which began when President Donald Trump announced his plan to pull the 2,000 U.S. troops out of Syria on December 19.
He said, inaccurately, that it was because ISIS had been "defeated."
Up to 1,000 U.S. troops could remain in Syria — more than twice as many as originally announced, according to the Wall Street Journal.
President Donald Trump initially announced in December that he would withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria, but U.S. officials said in February that several hundred troops are expected to remain in Syria to create a "safe zone" along the border with Turkey and to man the al-Tanf garrison, which is located along a supply rote that would allow Iran to supply its proxies in Syria.
On Sunday, Dion Nissenbaum and Nancy Youssef of the Wall Street Journal first reported that the U.S. military is considering leaving as many as 1,000 troops in Syria to prevent Turkey from attacking the United States' Kurdish allies. So far, the United States and Turkey have failed to agree on how to secure the proposed safe zone.
U.S. Army Sgt. James R. Moore of Portland, Ore., a logitstics NCO with the 642nd Regional Support Group, shoots at the Fort Pickett rifle range as part of the Mortuary Affairs Exercise Aug. 15, 2018. (U.S. Army/Sgt. 1st Class Gary A. Witte, 642nd Regional Support Group)
White supremacists take part in a march the night before the 'Unite the Right' rally in Charlottesville, VA. (Associated Press photo)
Seven U.S. service members have reportedly been identified as members of Identity Evropa, a white nationalist group founded by a Marine veteran and tied to the 2017 Charlottesville rally, according to leaked online chat logs examined by HuffPost.
Smoke rises from the last besieged neighborhood in the village of Baghouz, Deir Al Zor province, Syria March 17, 2019 (Reuters)
BAGHOUZ, Syria (Reuters) - Falling bombs raised smoke over Islamic State's last enclave in east Syria on Sunday, obscuring the huddle of vehicles and makeshift shelters to which the group's self-declared "caliphate" has been reduced.