U.S. says it will send troops back into Syria to protect oil fields

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October 25, 2019 - 4:53 PM

BRUSSELS (AP) — The United States will send armored vehicles and combat troops into eastern Syria to keep oil fields from potentially falling into the hands of Islamic State militants, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Friday.

It was the latest sign that extracting the military from Syria is more uncertain and complicated than President Donald Trump is making it out to be. Though Trump repeatedly says he is pulling out of Syria, the reality on the ground is different.

Adding armored reinforcements in the oil-producing area of Syria could mean sending several hundred U.S. troops — even as a similar number are being withdrawn from a separate mission closer to the border with Turkey where Russian forces have been filling the vacuum.

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