Officials Say Trump Has Ordered Full Withdrawal of U.S. Troops From Syria

WASHINGTON — President Trump has ordered a fast withdrawal of all 2,000 United States floor troops from Syria inside 30 days, declaring the four-year American-led battle towards the Islamic State as largely gained, officers mentioned Wednesday.

“We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency,” the president mentioned in a Twitter put up on Wednesday morning. He supplied no particulars on his plans for the army mission, nor a bigger technique, in Syria.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, mentioned in a press release that “we have started returning United States troops home as we transition to the next phase of this campaign.”

But Pentagon officers who had sought to speak the president out of the choice as late as Wednesday morning argued that such a transfer would betray Kurdish allies who’ve fought alongside American troops in Syria and who might discover themselves beneath assault in a army offensive now threatened by Turkey.

One American official mentioned that Kurdish leaders have been knowledgeable of the president’s resolution on Wednesday morning.

”At this time, we proceed to work by, with and thru our companions within the area,” Col. Rob Manning, a Pentagon spokesman, mentioned in a brief assertion.

A second official mentioned the withdrawal of troops can be phased out over a number of weeks and that the American-led airstrike marketing campaign towards the Islamic State in Syria, which started in 2014, would proceed. That official mentioned the army hoped to depend on Kurdish fighters on the bottom to assist with concentrating on.

Officials mentioned the rising coverage on situation of anonymity earlier than any announcement from the White House.

In a collection of conferences and convention calls over the previous a number of days, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and different senior nationwide safety officers have tried to dissuade Mr. Trump from a wholesale troop withdrawal, arguing that the numerous nationwide safety coverage shift would basically cede overseas affect in Syria to Russia and Iran at a time when American coverage requires difficult each nations.

Abandoning the American-backed Kurdish allies, Pentagon officers have argued, will hamper future efforts by the United States to realize the belief of native fighters, from Afghanistan to Yemen to Somalia.

In addition, the Islamic State has not been totally vanquished from the small territory it controls on the Syrian-Iraqi border. The Islamic State has held that territory for greater than a yr within the face of assaults by American-allied forces, and has used it as a launching pad to hold out assaults in Iraq and Syria.

Less than every week in the past, Brett H. McGurk, the United States envoy to the coalition preventing the Islamic State, mentioned persevering with to coach Syrian safety forces as American troops are doing, “will take some time.”

“The military mission is the enduring defeat of ISIS,” Mr. McGurk instructed reporters on Dec. 11. “We have obviously learned a lot of lessons in the past, so we know that once the physical space is defeated, we can’t just pick up and leave. So we’re prepared to make sure that we do all we can to ensure this is enduring.”

On Monday, Mr. Erdogan said that he told Mr. Trump that Turkey would launch its offensive soon.

Turkey considers the American-backed Kurdish forces to be a terrorist group because of their connection to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, a Kurdish insurgency in the region. The Syrian Kurds hope to create an autonomous region in northeast Syria, similar to the one in neighboring Iraq. They now control around 30 percent of Syria’s territory.

Pentagon officials have been pushing for a diplomatic solution to the issue.

The Islamic State, a militant group also known as ISIS, has lost an nearly all of its territory in Iraq and Syria, where the 2,000 American troops are mostly advising a militia made up of Kurdish and Arab soldiers.

In recent days, Turkey has accused the United States of failing to tackle security threats in the region. The United States and Turkey are NATO allies but uneasy partners in the war against the Islamic State.

But one Defense Department official suggested that Mr. Trump also wants to divert attention away from the series of legal challenges confronting him over the recent days: the Russian investigation run by the special counsel as well as the sentencing of his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, in a hush-money scandal to buy the silence of two women who said they had affairs with Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, was in court on Tuesday, where he was harshly criticized by federal judge for his efforts to mislead federal investigators.

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