The United States has no timeline to withdraw troops from Syria but does not plan to stay indefinitely, a senior State Department official said on Friday, a strong signal that forces could stay until the fight against Islamic State militants ends.
US-backed forces are still retaking territory from Islamic State in Syria, Pentagon officials said on Friday, two weeks after Washington said it would withdraw its roughly 2,000 troops there. At the time, President Donald Trump said the troops had succeeded in their mission and were no longer needed there.
The administration's abrupt announcement last month, which took officials in Washington and allies by surprise, contributed to Jim Mattis' decision to resign as US defense secretary and prompted concern that Islamic State could stage a comeback.
The State Department official, briefing reporters before a visit to the Middle East next week by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, appeared to be seeking to allay that concern.