The Syrian military said it will expel foreign troops if the United States does not leave the country in 72 hours, according to a report by the state-run newspaper in the country’s northwest.
The military has said it has repulsed multiple incursions by rebel forces in recent weeks, including Turkish and Kurdish ones.
The U.S. military’s Southern Command on Tuesday evening said it has conducted 22 airstrikes against ISIS and Al Qaeda fighters in Syria since it began striking against ISIS there in August 2014.
The airstrikes hit targets including ISIS-held or U.S.-supported opposition forces at Qaim, in the southeast, across the border from Iraq, which is a key part of the Trump administration’s plan to pressure ISIS out of its remaining areas of control.
This came after a bomb attack in Turkey this week in which 40 people were killed.
“They’re firing rockets and bombing, just for me to go over to Syria,” said Abu Mohammed, a resident of Hatay province, speaking to Reuters, “the American [NATO] base, we try to avoid them. We know that they will return here.”
A State Department official, who was not authorized to be named and asked not to be identified, said they were aware of the situation and were “closely monitoring” it.
“The redeployment of coalition forces will not alter the ongoing campaign to destroy ISIL and degrade the group’s ability to carry out attacks worldwide,” the official said.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last week he was still discussing the “future of the coalition in Syria” with both the Turkish and Russian governments but was “open to a diplomatic resolution with the United States and our partners.”
“America has been there from the beginning and will be there from the end,” Pompeo told reporters, referring to the current fight against ISIS.
The opposition Syrian National Coalition also called on the U.S. to withdraw, saying it will “not allow the liberation of ISIS from Syria from the hands of their terrorist allies.”
The New York Times reported Sunday that U.S. special forces who have been in Syria since 2013 are planning to draw down forces next year. The White House said Pompeo was not authorized to comment on U.S. military movements.
Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin and The Associated Press contributed to this report.