ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT (AP) — Defense Secretary Mark Esper says that under the current plan all U.S. troops leaving Syria will go to western Iraq, and that the military will continue to conduct operations against the Islamic State group to prevent a resurgence in that country.
Esper also isn't ruling out the idea that U.S. forces would conduct counterterrorism missions from Iraq into Syria. He says those details will be worked out over time. He was speaking to reporters traveling with him Saturday to the Middle East,
His comments were the first to lay out where American troops will go as they leave Syria and what the counter-IS fight could look like. Esper said he spoke to his Iraqi counterpart about the plan to shift the more than 700 troops leaving Syria into western Iraq.