FILE - This file photo provided Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017 by the Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows Civil Defense workers and Syrian citizens gathering after an airstrike hit a market in Maaret al-Numan in southern Idlib, Syria. When the presidents of Russia, Turkey and Iran meet in Tehran on Friday, Sept. 7, all eyes will be on their diplomacy averting a bloodbath in Idlib, Syria's crowded northwestern province and last opposition stronghold. The three leaders whose nations are all under U.S. sanctions have an interest in working together, but Idlib is complicated and they have little common ground. (Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets via AP, File)

US plays down talk of imminent pullout of forces from Syria

September 06, 2018 - 2:14 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is playing down talk of an imminent pullout of American forces from Syria, pledging the "U.S. will remain in Syria" until the "enduring defeat" of the Islamic State group.

That's according to U.S. special representative for Syria, James Jeffrey. He also said the U.S. is demanding a complete withdrawal of Iranian forces from Syrian territory.

President Donald Trump has previously expressed a desire to get the U.S. out of Syria. There are roughly 2,000 U.S. troops deployed there.

Jeffrey spoke to reporters Thursday about U.S. policy toward the war-torn nation.

Russian forces are preparing for an assault on Syria's Idlib province, a move the U.S. has repeatedly warned would likely result in a bloodbath the scale of which has not been seen in Syria's seven-year war.