President Trump announced on Friday that the U.S. will leave 400 soldiers in Syria.
Half of the troops will serve as part of a multinational force — which could end up consisting of as many as 1,500 soldiers — in the northeastern part of the country, while the other half will be stationed at an outpost in the southeast.
On Friday, Trump denied that the decision is a reversal from his previous rhetoric, in which he said he would pull all U.S. troops from Syria. "It's a very small, tiny fraction of the people we have, and a lot of people like that idea," he said.
The decision is part of a joint plan by the U.S. and its NATO allies to assemble a "monitoring and observing force" in northeastern Syria, with the hope of providing a buffer between Turkey and U.S.-allied Syrian opposition forces, particularly Kurdish resistance forces. The remaining soldiers will attempt to prevent an Islamic State resurgence in the area.
Per The New York Times, the United States' European allies refused to deploy troops if the U.S. did not.