“We were always playing shell games to not make clear to our leadership how many troops we had there,” Jeffrey made the startling revelation in an interview with Defense One website.
Back in October 2019, Trump ordered the withdrawal of US troops from northern Syria. The decision was met with immense criticism from lawmakers, military officials and diplomats like Republican Senator Lindsay Graham and former Pentagon chief James Mattis, who had several policy differences with the president and eventually quit from the top post on the heels of Trump’s decision to pull out.
Pentagon officials could at last convince Trump to leave approximately 200 troops behind to “secure” oil fields.
However, the real number of troops in northeast Syria is “a lot more than” the roughly 200 troops Trump initially agreed to leave there, Jeffrey said.
“What Syria withdrawal? There was never a Syria withdrawal,” the retiring diplomat said.