Washington: US President Donald Trump on Saturday said American troops from Syria are coming back home after defeating the Islamic State jihadists and “local countries” like Turkey should now be able to take care of the situation in the war-ravaged nation.
Trump on Wednesday announced the withdrawal of 2,000 US troops from Syria, bringing an abrupt end to a military campaign that largely vanquished the ISIS but ceding a strategically vital country to Russia and Iran.
His declared victory over the IS contradicted assessments by his own experts, with many lawmakers calling his decision rash and dangerous.
“On Syria, we were originally going to be there for three months, and that was seven years ago – we never left. When I became President, ISIS was going wild,” Trump tweeted.
“Now ISIS is largely defeated and other local countries, including Turkey, should be able to easily take care of whatever remains. We’re coming home!” he added.
Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from Syria triggered resignation of his Defence secretary James Mattis who said Trump needs someone in the position with “views better aligned” with those of the president.
On Saturday, Brett McGurk, the US envoy to the global coalition fighting the ISIS, resigned in protest to Trump’s decision.
Few days ago, McGurk had said it would be “reckless” to consider IS defeated and therefore would be unwise to bring American forces home.
Trump, who was scheduled to travel to Florida on Saturday to spend his Christmas and New Year holidays, was at the White House having meetings and talks with the Democrats on border security and government shutdown.
“I am in the White House, working hard. News reports concerning the Shutdown and Syria are mostly FAKE. We are negotiating with the Democrats on desperately needed Border Security (Gangs, Drugs, Human Trafficking & more) but it could be a long stay,” he tweeted.