Graphic shows approximate U.S. troop numbers in and around the Middle East.
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MILITARY

U.S. troop numbers in the Middle East

October 23, 2019 - Despite President Donald Trump’s repeated promises to end what he calls America’s “endless wars,” there are now more U.S. troops in the Middle East than when he took office.

The United States is estimated to have 60,000 to 80,000 troops stationed across the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, which covers the Middle East and Southwest Asia, including Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

Since President Trump took office in 2017, roughly 3,000 more U.S. troops have been sent to Afghanistan, America’s longest-running war. About 14,000 additional troops have also been deployed to the Persian Gulf region since May this year in response to Iranian attacks and provocations, according to The New York Times.

Earlier this month, Trump ordered the bulk of the approximately 1,000 U.S. troops in Syria to withdraw, clearing the way for Turkish forces to invade and push back Syrian Kurdish fighters.

The pullout largely abandons the Kurdish allies who have fought the so-called Islamic State group alongside U.S. troops for several years. Between 200 and 300 U.S. troops will remain at the southern Syrian outpost of Al-Tanf.

U.S. Defence Secretary Mark Esper said Tuesday that American troops withdrawing from Syria will stay in Iraq “temporarily” before returning to the United States.

PUBLISHED: 23/10/2019; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Associated Press
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