Updated Oct 13, 2019

Trump orders 1,000 troops relocated from northeastern Syria

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Syrian Kurdish forces strike deal with Assad amid Turkish assault

Mourners attend a funeral for Kurdish political leader Hevrin Khalaf and others including civilians and Kurdish fighters in the northeastern Syrian Kurdish town of Derik. Photo: Delil Souleiman/AFP via Getty Images

The primarily Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which allied with the U.S. in the fight against ISIS, has struck a deal with the Syrian government to help protect the northeastern Syrian border against a military offensive by Turkey, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: President Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northeastern Syria ahead of a military incursion announced by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has caused intense bipartisan backlash, with many accusing Trump of abandoning an ally. The deal will result in forces loyal to the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is also backed by Russia and Iran, returning to areas that had been under Kurdish control for 7 years.

Go deeperArrowOct 13, 2019

Pentagon chief says U.S. troops to leave Syria for Iraq

A soldier stands guard during a joint patrol with Turkish troops in September in the Syrian village of al-Hashisha, near the border with Turkey. Photo: Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters Saturday night that all of the nearly 1,000 U.S. troops leaving Syria will continue the fight against the Islamic State, or ISIS, from western Iraq, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: President Trump has faced scathing criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike for his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria, which paved the way for Turkey to lead a military offensive against Kurdish forces who allied with the U.S. in the fight against ISIS.

Go deeperArrowOct 20, 2019

Turkish attack on Kurdish-held town allows 950 ISIS detainees to escape

Turkish-backed Syrian fighters fight in the border town of Ras al-Ain on Oct. 13. Photo: Nazeer Al-khatib/AFP/Getty Images

Syrian Kurdish officials on Sunday said clashes near Ain Issa, a key Kurdish-held town in northern Syria, allowed 950 Islamic State, or ISIS, supporters to escape from a camp for displaced people near a U.S.-led coalition base, AP reports.

Why it matters: One of the fears stemming from President Trump's withdrawal of U.S. forces from northern Syria was that a Turkish assault would force Kurdish forces to desert the prison camps where about 12,000 ISIS fighters and their families are being held.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Oct 14, 2019