Listen: Turkey-Syria offensive continues; some US troops to stay
"As the ceasefire in Syria runs out today there are reports of skirmishes Lean Kurds and Turkish forces but the trump administration may be partially reversing course on a complete withdrawal of troops from Syria defense secretary mark experts said yesterday Dan yet trump ordered the original withdrawal despite objections from world leaders and bipartisan lawmakers NPR Pentagon reporter. Tom Bowman joins us now and Tom US troops left Syria in a hurry but now some might stay how many will remain in wear we'll Tony it looks like maybe a couple of hundred will stay as you say to protect those oilfields Esper- talked about it and actually president trump echoed that at a cabinet meeting he said if troops day it will be to protect the oil now the oil fields as asper said they want to keep them out of the hands of Isis and other groups and it's interesting to note that it wasn't isis it tried to grab the oil of fields last year when I was over there it was Russian mercenaries and they were pushed back by withering US your strikes of the five hundred that tried to grab oilfield about half of them were killed in those airstrikes so it's not just isis in frankly the Russians probably have more firepower in in Moore's fighters could actually roll in there and grab the oilfields but it's a it's a big concern they want to protect oilfields and also kind of use him as leverage wjr against the Syrian government against Russia to come to some sort of agreement in the country okay what have Pentagon officials told you about these plans are they coming straight from the Department of Defense or has the White House had anything to do with them well it's always a mixture of both of the White House course has say we know president trump has said he wants to to remove troops from places like Iraq and Syria and Afghanistan the Pentagon says more needs to be done isis has not been defeated in this case and we still have to stay the course now it's interesting this is the third time that president trump has tried to pull all the troops out of Korea when I was there in February of two thousand eighteen he announced all would be leaving the Pentagon talked him out of it and again in December of two thousand eighteen he said all two thousand troops would come out there was a compromise and they kept one thousand here we are October two thousand nineteen and he said has all one thousand out and now they're people are dragging their feet on that and saying it looks like you know maybe a couple of hundred will stay in Iraq how did Iraqis feel about more military. US military in their country will wreck officials would not all that happy about it when Defense Secretary Esperer announced that he said these troops will be going to western Iraq to continue the fight against Isis from there and the Iraqi officials said wait a minute you haven't received permission to come in and with those extra troops so he is talking to Iraqi officials trying to smooth things over and as he has said they want to continue the Isis it from Iraq but that's going to be very difficult you need troops on the ground to mount ineffective fight what they can do from Iraq if they're allowed to is surveillance. flights maybe some air strikes across border raids perhaps but you really need folks on the ground to go after Isis and we know that President Air Don met today with with Putin and we're learning about the outcome of that meeting with the ceasefire coming to an end very quickly happens next well likely much more fighting between Kurdish fighters and these Turkish backed militias prisoner of Turkey said there are still thirteen hundred fighters left in that safe zone they're trying to create so we'll see what happens but US military officials I talked with say expect a lot more fighting NPR Pentagon reporter. Tom Bowman thank you"