British Special Forces in Syria may be withdrawn

US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw American military forces from the Syria-Turkey border has caught everyone by surprise, including the UK, which counts as one of America’s strongest allies.

The Times is reporting today that Trump’s apparently impromptu decision has “blindsided” the British government.

Apparently the British government was not aware of the phone call between Trump and Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on Sunday, which led to Trump announcing his withdrawal decision.

According to The Times, Trump’s decision to withdraw from significant swathes of north-east Syria will expose British Special Forces operating in the region to exceptionally vulnerable situations, thus necessitating their full withdrawal.

The exact number of British special forces soldiers, presumed to be from the elite Special Air Service (SAS) and Special Boat Service (SBS) regiments, is not known but estimates have varied from several dozen to several hundreds.

The Times’ defence correspondent, Lucy Fisher (who is the author of the article), claims in a tweet that the number of British special forces soldiers operating in Syria is in the “low hundreds”.

In the same tweet, Fisher said that these British special operators rely on US forces for “resources, transport, infrastructure, ISR [Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance]”.

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