President Donald Trump said he wants U.S. troops to leave Syria soon and will make a decision “very quickly” on how much longer they will stay, as his administration’s policy on its seven-year civil war remains in limbo.
“I want to get out, I want to bring the troops back home, I want to start rebuilding our nation,” Trump said Tuesday during a news conference at the White House with leaders of Baltic nations. He added that “our primary mission” of fighting the Islamic State terrorist group is “almost completed.”
As Islamic State loses most of its self-proclaimed caliphate, the U.S. is losing its only professed reason to keep troops on the ground and send air strikes into the maelstrom in Syria. Yet Pentagon officials have made it clear they have no desire to pull out and enable Syrian President Bashar Assad and his allies Russia and Iran to seal their victory.
(c) 2018, Bloomberg · Margaret Talev, Daniel Flatley