syria us withdrawal
© REUTERS/Ari Jalal
A convoy of U.S. vehicles is seen after withdrawing from northern Syria, at the Iraqi-Syrian border crossing in the outskirts of Dohuk, Iraq, October 21, 2019.
US forces leaving northern Syria have reportedly crossed into Iraq, where they will continue their seemingly endless military presence in the region. Donald Trump had insinuated that the soldiers would be returning home.

More than 100 armored vehicles were spotted entering Iraq from the Sahela border crossing in Dohuk province, Reuters said. An Iraqi Kurdish security source told the news service that US soldiers had crossed into the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

Monday's troop transfer is part of the Pentagon's plan to move all of the nearly 1,000 personnel withdrawing from northern Syria to western Iraq. US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Saturday that the forces would participate in ongoing operations against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS). He added that it wasn't yet decided if the US soldiers would carry out missions in Syria from their new home in Iraq.

Before leaving their posts, the troops bombed a US base and landing strip in northern Syria, and destroyed equipment at another outpost. Announcing his decision to leave Syria earlier this month, US President Donald Trump argued that it was "time to bring our soldiers back home," a rationale that doesn't seem to hold up to scrutiny now that the troops have relocated to war-torn Iraq.


Comment: Here is some of what the Americans left behind: