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US Marine Corps tactical vehicles in Syria's northeastern Hasekeh province US Marine Corps tactical vehicles in Syria's northeastern Hasekeh province  (AFP or licensors)

Top US official quits over Syria pullout

A senior American official in the fight against so-called Islamic State group has quit over President Trump's order to pull troops from Syria.

By Nathan Morley

Brett McGurk, who acts as the American-appointed envoy to the global coalition fighting the so-called Islamic State group, has left his post in protest over President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from Syria.

Less than two weeks ago, McGurk had said it would be “reckless” to consider Islamic State defeated and therefore would be unwise to bring American forces home.

On Thursday, Trump ordered a full, rapid withdrawal of over 2,000 US troops in Syria, declaring victory over the so-called Islamic State.

“We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency,” he said.

Soon after that statement, the US Defence Secretary James Mattis resigned.

Separately, a Syrian war monitor is reporting that Turkey is massing troops near a town in northern Syria held by a U.S.-backed and Kurdish-led force.

Turkey had said it would delay a promised offensive in Syria following President Trump's decision to withdraw American troops.

Listen to the report by Nathan Morley
23 December 2018, 17:33