Trump To Pull Troops From Syria Despite Pushback From Pentagon
- Celia Watts
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis welcomes Vice President Mike Pence to the Pentagon, today.
"It was the president's decision", the senior official said when asked about recent speeches and remarks by his national security advisers stating a US withdrawal would be unwise.
In a tweet Wednesday morning, President Trump did not mention the troop withdrawal, but seemed to refer to it obliquely.
"We remain committed to the global coalition and the campaign to deny Daesh territory and ensure its enduring defeat, working alongside our critical regional partners in Syria and beyond".
President Donald Trump sent out a tweet at 6:29 a.m.
Yet Secretary Mattis dismissed the idea shortly thereafter, reiterating his stance that US troops were in Syria with the sole mission to take out ISIS. For force protection and operational security reasons we will not provide further details.
The decision prompted intense reactions particularly from Republican senators with foreign policy expertise. Sen.
"It was the president's decision to make and he made it", the senior administration official told reporters on the conference call.
But officials have said in recent weeks that pockets of Daesh terrorists remain. "In a tweet he proclaimed that "'full and rapid' withdrawal from #Syria is a grave error with broader implications beyond just the fight against #ISIS".
Mona Yacoubian, the senior adviser for Syria, Middle East and North Africa at the United States Institute of Peace, said the US military presence in Syria was a "small footprint but an important one", noting that USA troops are in Northeastern Syria where the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces have control of oil fields, gas, water and infrastructure.
It had been thought defence officials wanted to maintain a United States presence. "Nobody is declaring a mission accomplished".
Trump signals full U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria: 'We have defeated ISIS'
U.S. Marine General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, cautioned earlier in December that the United States had trained only about 20 percent of Syrian forces required to stabilize areas captured from Islamic State.
"The Coalition mission in northeast Syria remains unchanged".
Mattis and US State Department officials have long fretted about leaving Syria before a peace agreement can be reached to end the country's brutal civil war. Elaborating in a Facebook video, Rubio said that "I know that all of us would view that as a positive step in terms of the ability to sort of bring our servicemen and women back from the Middle East in a place where they are now engaged. I think anyone who has looked at a conflict like this would agree with that". Like walking away from a forest fire that is still smoldering underfoot.
The defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss a decision that has not yet been announced, said the withdrawal was expected to occur as quickly as possible and would affect the entire force of more than 2,000 USA service members. The two spoke at the G-20 summit in Argentina and in a phone call last Friday.
Within hours, major media were reporting that the administration planned to pull all 2,000 American troops out of Syria.
Mr Erdogan added that he had discussed his plan with Mr Trump by telephone and that he had given a "positive response". It was unclear how soon a decision could be announced.
James Jeffrey, the USA special representative on Syria, later clarified that the continued U.S. role would not necessarily be military.
The policy of leaving US troops in Syria as leverage against Iran and to ensure Syrian stability was first announced in early September by James Jeffrey, who Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appointed as special representative for "Syria Engagement". It was not immediately clear if there was a connection between the Patriot sale and the decision on US troops. I am very concerned that an ill-informed and hasty withdrawal of troops will not only breathe new life into ISIS and other terrorist groups, but it will also cede America's hard-fought gains in the region to Russia, Iran and Assad. The news was first reported by The Wall Street Journal. "So that will take some time", he said, according to Bloomberg News.
"History is often a lesson in those discussions", she said.
The US forces have been supporting Kurdish-led forces in northeastern Syria in battling ISIS. In the years that followed, the USA began partnering with Syrian ground forces to fight the extremists.
National security adviser John Bolton warned in September that the United States would stay in Syria until the departure of Iran - a key backer of Assad.
Although the formal objective of the troops is the defeat of the militants, the administration has broadly defined that goal as ensuring that the Islamic State can not reassert itself, that political stability has been achieved under United Nations resolutions for a new constitution and eventual elections, and that all Iranian and Iranian proxy forces have left the country.
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