Top officials consulted ahead of Syria decision: Pentagon

2019-10-09 02:40:19 GMT2019-10-09 10:40:19(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

WASHINGTON, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) -- The Pentagon said on Tuesday that Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley were consulted regarding the redeployment of U.S. forces in Syria, countering reports suggesting that senior Pentagon officials were blindsided by the decision.

"Despite continued misreporting to the contrary, Secretary Esper and Chairman Milley were consulted over the last several days by the President regarding the situation and efforts to protect U.S. forces in northern Syria in the face of military action by Turkey," Chief Pentagon Spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement.

The Washington Post wrote in a Tuesday piece that some senior officials at the Pentagon said they were blindsided by the decision.

U.S. troops stationed in northern Syria were moved out of the path of potential Turkish incursion to ensure their safety, said the statement, adding that no changes have been made to U.S. force presence in Syria at this time.

About 50 U.S. military personnel stationed in the border area in northern Syria would be redeployed within Syria, a senior official of U.S. President Donald Trump's administration said on Monday.

The purpose of stationing a limited number of U.S. troops in northern Syria was not only to prevent a reemergence of the Islamic State (IS) but also to deter the Turkish from striking Syrian Kurds fighters, a U.S. ally in fighting the IS but terrorists in Ankara's eyes.

The redeployment decision along with the Turkish offensive into the region put the fate of Syrian Kurdish fighters in uncertainty.

U.S. lawmakers from both parties criticized Trump's decision to regroup U.S. forces and abandon the Syrian Kurdish fighters, fearing it would lead to a resurgence of the IS and a humanitarian crisis following the Turkish incursion.