The president’s comments appear to contradict U.S. military and national security advisors, who were speaking simultaneously at the U.S. Institute of Peace about the future fight against ISIS in both Iraq and Syria.
“As far as Syria is concerned, our primary mission in terms of that was getting rid of ISIS. We’ve almost completed that task, and we’ll be making a decision very quickly in coordination with others as to what we’ll do,” Trump said Tuesday at the White House.
“I want to get out. I want to bring our troops home.”
Contrary to Trump’s statements, Brett McGurk, the U.S. special envoy for the global coalition against ISIS, told a forum Tuesday that the U.S. mission in Syria was far from over.
“We are in Syria to fight ISIS. That is our mission, and our mission isn’t over, and we are going to complete that mission,” McGurk said.
Echoing those sentiments, Army Gen. Joseph Votel, who oversees U.S. forces in the Middle East as the head of Central Command, said that while the presence of ISIS in the region had diminished, “it is not gone.”
Votel estimated that more than 90 percent of the terror group’s territory had been recovered by U.S.-backed forces. He added that the next step for the approximately 2,000 U.S.troops in Syria would be to help stabilize the region.
“The hard part, I think, is in front of us, and that is stabilizing these areas, consolidating our gains, getting people back into their homes,” Votel said alongside McGurk.
“There is a military role in this. Certainly in the stabilization phase.”
Trump is correct here, keeping the U.S. in a stabilization phase is doing what? Stabilizing the Assad regime? With Russia’s backing, Assad has held on and Russian troops (mercenary or not) have already attacked American troops. Adding in the Turkish incursion, it is time to get out of that quagmire.