Ain Issa, which was the headquarters of the Kurdish-led administration in northeastern Syria, owes its significance to its position beside the M4 highway, which runs from the Iraqi border across northeastern Syria. It is the main supply route in and out of Syria for the 1,000 U.S. troops deployed there and for much of the limited aid that reaches northeastern Syria.
There were conflicting reports from Washington on whether Trump intends to order the withdrawal of all 1,000 of the U.S. troops imminently or simply to relocate those closest to the front lines to safer positions.
But with their supply lines severed, the region in disarray and their Kurdish allies focused on fighting Turkey and not the Islamic State, the U.S. troop presence in northeast Syria is becoming increasingly untenable, the U.S. official said.
A United Nations official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive issues said that half of the aid workers in the areas held by the SDF have evacuated, and others are expected to follow.
Originally published on https://www.washingtonpost.com