President Trump has announced that the U.S.troops would be leaving Syria “very soon”and to now “let the other people take care of it.”
Trump made the announcement after heralding the defeat of ISIS during an Ohio speech on Thursday to push spending on domestic infrastructure.
However the Pentagon has said it would be staying in Syria for as long as it takes.
“We will continue to support the SDF as they continue to fight against ISIS,” Dana White, the Pentagon’s chief spokesperson said. “We must not become distracted and reduce the pressure on ISIS.”
U.S. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert also said on Thursday that it had not been informed about any decision on withdrawing troops from Syria.
RT reports: The US spent $7 trillion in the Middle East, Trump said, describing how the US would build schools only for insurgents to destroy them, while there was no funding to build schools in Ohio.
“We build a school, they blow it up. We rebuild the school, they haven’t blown it up yet, but they will,” he said.
The president also pointed out the “wall” and 32,000 US troops guarding the border between North and South Korea, while the US border with Mexico was not likewise protected.
“Is there something a little bit wrong with that?” he asked the crowd.
Trump’s remarks about Syria are in line with what he said last month, at a press conference in Washington with Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull.
“We’re there for one reason: to get ISIS and get rid of ISIS, and to go home,” the US president had said. “We’re not there for any other reason and we’ve largely accomplished our goal.”
However, this goes against the previous pronouncements of his subordinates at the State Department and the military.
In January, then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson outlined a plan that envisioned extended US presence in Syria to ensure a peaceful transfer of power to a “post-Assad leadership.” In December last year, the Pentagon said US troops would remain in Syria for “as long as we need to, to support our partners and prevent the return of terrorist groups.”