Oct. 21 (UPI) -- The U.S. military is shifting its terrorist-fighting operations from Syria to Iraq, officials said Monday.
Pentagon chief Mark Esper said over the weekend commanders would move fighting forces, as a five-day cease-fire remains in effect in Syria following a Turkish offensive.
One official said while U.S. troops will be stationed along the Syrian-Iraq border, they will stay out of a cease-fire zone Vice President Mike Pence negotiated with Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey last week.
The New York Times reported Monday U.S. President Donald Trump is now considering keeping a small force of about 200 troops in eastern Syria. Such a move would mark the second time within a year the president has ordered all troops out of Syria, only to change his mind about the complete pullout.
Trump was heavily criticized, even by some of his strongest supporters in Congress, last week after he announced the withdrawal -- which the critics argued allowed Turkey to launch an offensive against U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters there. Those fighters, who'd led the fight against the Islamic State with U.S. troops, are considered terrorists by Turkey. Some Kurds said they'd felt abandoned by the move.