US-led global coalition will continue to operate and support local forces in Syria, Pentagon spokesman says.
Russian statements on the withdrawal of its forces from Syria "do not typically correspond" with the situation on the ground, the Pentagon said Monday.
"Russian comments about the removal of their forces do not often correspond with actual troop reductions and they do not impact [U.S.] priorities in Syria," Pentagon spokesperson Military Col. Rob Manning told reporters at a press briefing.
Manning's statement follows an announcement by the commander of the Russian forces in Syria, Colonel General Sergei Surovikin, that Russia will withdraw its 23 combat aircraft, two helicopters, special force units, military police and area security personnel from Syria following an announcement earlier in the day by Russian President Vladimir Putin declaring “victory” in Syria during a surprise visit to a military base there.
Manning said the U.S.-led global coalition will continue to operate and support local forces in Syria to complete the military defeat of the Daesh terror group and make sure it cannot reestablish safe heavens in the region.
He also said members of the SDF, a U.S.-backed force comprised of PKK/PYD terrorists, met with Iraqi leaders near their shared border on Dec. 10 to confirm their commitment as they continued clearance operations in their areas.
"They met in order to confirm their commitment ensuring that ISIS will not take root again," Manning said in response to a question by Anadolu Agency about the purpose of the meeting, referring to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or Daesh.
The PKK/PYD is the Syrian branch of the PKK, which has waged a terror campaign against Turkey for 33 years leading to the deaths of more than 40,000 people.
The U.S. has provided weapons to PKK/PYD terrorists for its anti-Daesh campaign in Syria, largely ignoring the group’s links to the PKK, which the U.S., EU and Turkey list as a terrorist group.
Since the PKK launched its terror campaign in Turkey in 1984, tens of thousands of people have been killed, including more than 1,200 since July 2015 alone.