Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Trump advisers urge against hasty US retreat from Syria

US boosting presence in northern Syria in response to Turkish threats State media Trump advisers urge against hasty US retreat from Syria
Sandy Mccarthy | 05 April, 2018, 01:53

"The military mission to eradicate ISIS in Syria is coming to a rapid end, with ISIS being nearly completely destroyed", a statement from White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said on Wednesday.

Votels statements came five days after President Donald Trump expressed his desire to leave the war-torn nation "very soon" and the same day Trump instructed US forces to prepare for withdrawal from Syria while maintaining troops who will continue to train local forces, according to the Washington Post.

The White House said Wednesday that the USA military mission in Syria was coming to "a rapid end" but offered no firm timeline for a withdrawal, even as President Donald Trump has insisted it's time for American troops to return home.

On the issue of Turkish troops - which last month took control of the northwestern enclave of Afrin - Erdogan said they would move eastward into Manbij and other areas controlled by the USA -backed Peoples' Protection Units, or YPG, which Turkey considers to be terrorists.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani says the United States' pullout from Syria is an excuse for soliciting money from countries that want them to remain there.

"We'll be coming out of Syria, like, very soon".

But Sanders suggested that would not be a long-term endeavor, and she described the extremist group that once controlled vast swaths of Syria and Iraq as "almost completely destroyed".

The United States has reached a decision on a possible withdrawal of troops from Syria, the top U.S. intelligence official said Wednesday, adding that an announcement was imminent.

Brett McGurk, the USA special envoy for the global coalition against ISIS, told the forum that "we are in Syria to fight ISIS".

Waltz said Syria could once again become a base for ISIS to plan attacks around the world.

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The advisers told Trump that ISIS isn't fully defeated in Syria, and he acknowledged that United States troops would need to remain in the country for at least some time longer.

A senior Syrian Kurdish official said Trump's comments on wanting to withdraw from Syria came at an "inappropriate time" as Islamic State militants re-emerge in eastern Syria and amid threats from Turkey.

The area is the scene of a tense standoff where USA -backed Kurdish-led forces who hold Manbij face Turkish-backed Syrian fighters.

While it is hard to ascertain exactly how much the USA military spent in Syria specifically, Operation Inherent Resolve as a whole has cost over over $18 billion as of February 2018, according to the Pentagon.

The three have been working to find a political solution in Syria under the Astana process, which began past year in competition with the USA and UN-backed Geneva initiative.

Votel also indicated the US could continue to have a military presence in Syria, and Iraq, even after IS is thoroughly defeated.

The statement concluded: "We will continue to consult with our allies and friends regarding future plans". Russian Federation and Iran have provided crucial support to President Bashar Assad's forces, while Turkey has backed the rebels seeking to overthrow him. "This is a danger we are thinking about, and we are tying to fine the appropriate means to take measures against the expansion of Daesh (IS)", he said. The latter has been the site of most recent USA airstrikes in Syria.

This appeared to contradict or undermine the policy outlined in January that troops would stabilise areas recaptured from the ISIS militants and boost U.S. influence over Syria's future.

Rouhani of Iran, longtime rival to the Americans, reacted with derision to the planned US pullout from Syria, calling it a ploy to extract concessions from countries in the region.

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