Although the military has begun the "process of deliberate withdrawal" from Syria, combat operations have continued inside the country. President Trump posted a Tweet on Sunday evening saying the pullout was "long overdue," though the military will continue to strike "the little remaining ISIS territorial caliphate hard, and from many directions." Additionally, Trump said he would "devastate Turkey economically" if that country's forces strike US-backed Kurdish fighters inside Syria, and claimed there will be a "20-mile safe zone." The US-led coalition announced the start of the drawdown on Friday, but declined to give specifics about the process, claiming operational security. The announcement follows the December claim that the US has defeated ISIS in Syria, which Trump said via Twitter was the "only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency." Following the announcement, US and coalition aircraft have increased their pace of operations, including doubling the amount of airstrikes inside Syria to end 2018. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking Thursday in Cairo, said the US will still use diplomacy and work with partners inside Syria, to "expel every last Iranian boot from the country and bring peace and stability."—Brian Everstine
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