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Fighters start to quit last opposition pocket of Syria's Ghouta

Fighters start to quit last opposition pocket of Syria's Ghouta

A British armed forces member also was killed and five other people were wounded in Thursday's bombing- a rare attack since the USA -led coalition sent troops into the country.

A political official in Jaish al Islam denied they had agreed to evacuate Douma and said the government-inspired reports were stepped up psychological warfare aimed at forcing them to capitulate.

His eagerness to quit the conflict flies in the face of a new US Syria strategy announced in January by then secretary of state Rex Tillerson - who has since been sacked.

"Very soon - very soon, we're coming out", Trump said.

Those remarks threw State Department officials off balance.

Trump said last week during a speech in OH that the USA would be "coming out of Syria like very soon", but seemed to put conditions on the final decision when asked about it Tuesday. "Let the other people take care of it now", Mr Trump promised in an address to industrial workers in Ohio. "We're coming out of Syria very soon".

Mr Trump's apparent readiness to quit the chaos of Syria runs counter to a new U.S. strategy announced in January by then secretary of state Rex Tillerson - who has since been sacked.

Master Sgt. Jonathan J. Dunbar, of Austin, died Friday as a result of injuries suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his patrol in Manbij - not far from the border with Turkey - during an operation against the Islamic State group, officials said. The U.S. military presence in Syria has been seen as a buffer against unchecked Iranian activity, and especially against Tehran's desire to establish a contiguous land route from Iran to the Mediterranean coast in Lebanon.

"The town of Douma has come closer to joining other villages and areas of [eastern] Ghouta taken back by the army", it said.

The two administration officials who confirmed the Wall Street Journal report and spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity said Trump's comments on Thursday reflected internal deliberations with advisers in which he has wondered aloud why US forces should remain with the militants on their heels.

Yet Trump's talk of leaving Syria soon contradicts "everything that he has said his foreign policy would stand for-except for his resistance to getting involved in new foreign wars", said Charles Lister, director of the Extremism and Counterterrorism Program at the Middle East Institute.

When President Donald Trump vowed U.S. forces would shortly quit Syria, observers were left wondering if he was signalling an epic policy shift - or whether it was more a case of wishful thinking.

In Iraq specifically, the removal of US troops opened a void for ISIS to swoop in, he says.

The public declaration caught USA national security agencies off-guard and unsure whether Trump was formally announcing a new, unexpected change in policy.

Trump past year went through a similar wrenching debate over whether to withdraw USA forces from Afghanistan, ultimately agreeing to keep them there but only after repeatedly raising questions of why they should stay. Since 20 September, 2014, when operations in Syria began, the USA has spent an average of $14.3 million a day on operations there and in neighboring Iraq, according to the Pentagon.



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