4 key areas in Damascus' Eastern Ghouta free of rebels: state media

American News Breaking NewsPolitics Trump Announces Withdrawal from Syria Discusses Infrastructure Plan
By Alexandra Hollenbeck

American News Breaking NewsPolitics Trump Announces Withdrawal from Syria Discusses Infrastructure Plan By Alexandra Hollenbeck

The State Department refused to confirm or deny a report in The Wall Street Journal that Mr Trump had placed on hold US$200 million (S$262.33 million) in USA funding to help stabilise areas of eastern Syria recaptured from ISIS.

The Pentagon has identified the USA soldier who died Friday in Syria following an explosion in the northern city of Manbij.

"By the way, we're knocking the hell out of ISIS", Trump told a crowd in OH during a speech on infrastructure spending. Prior to freezing the funds, Trump's declaration of a full withdrawal from Syria was at odds with with what the Pentagon also said on Thursday.

"Very soon - very soon we're coming out", Trump said in a speech in the Midwestern U.S. state of OH without offering details. "Let the other people take care of it now", he promised.

"The fear is of the unknown and not bombardment or hunger. what the coming days will bring we can not predict", said the resident, Bilal Bwaidani.

The U.S air campaign in Syria began in 2014.

The officials said the hold, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, is not necessarily permanent and will be discussed at senior-level inter-agency meetings next week.

Rebels have left behind a labyrinth of tunnels under Eastern Ghouta, fitted with hospitals and military headquarters, and some of them wide enough to drive a auto through.

"Right now they haven't come up with a coherent policy" in Washington, said James Jeffrey, who served as United States ambassador to Iraq and Turkey and as an assistant to President George W. Bush.

"Twelve buses carrying 629 Jaish al Islam terrorists and their families exited Douma.in preparation of them being transported to Jarablus", regime news agency SANA reported, using the regime's term for all rebel fighters.

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Turkey, alarmed by the growth of Kurdish influence in Syria, has recently expanded its foothold in the north of the country by seizing the northwestern Afrin region from the YPG, supported by Turkey-backed Syrian militias.

US President Donald Trump flanked by daughter Ivanka and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (L) speaks during a tour of the H&K Equipment Company in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania on January 18, 2018. Lindsey Graham told Fox News Sunday.

Trump's comment also contradicted how the president himself has spoken about American military action - as he has repeatedly insisted the USA not set timelines or telegraph actions to the enemy.

Engel believes that in both Iraq and Afghanistan, the USA military pulled out prematurely and was then forced to go back.

"I want to get out, I want to bring our troops back home", Trump told reporters, claiming the United States has "almost completed" the task of defeating ISIS as part of the civil war in Syria.

"It's a little bit like a cancer", Engel says.

On Tuesday, SANA quoted a military source as saying more than 40,000 people have returned to their homes in areas of the former rebel enclave.

Russian Federation has been a key backer of Syrian President Bashar Assad, ultimately helping to turn the tide of the devastating civil war in his favor.

Yet Trump's talk of leaving Syria soon contradicts "everything that he has said his foreign policy would stand for-except for his resistance to getting involved in new foreign wars", said Charles Lister, director of the Extremism and Counterterrorism Program at the Middle East Institute.

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