On Wednesday, President Trump ordered the withdrawal of all 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria, in a move that surprised many in Washington and around the world.
President Donald Trump: “We’ve been fighting for a long time in Syria. I’ve been president for almost two years, and we’ve really stepped it up. And we have won against ISIS. We’ve beaten them, and we’ve beaten them badly. We’ve taken back the land, and now it’s time for our troops to come back home.”
Trump ordered the withdrawal despite opposition from within the White House. In September, Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, had said U.S. troops would stay in Syria until Iranian troops and its proxy forces leave. While Trump claims ISIS has been defeated, a report by the United Nations in August found that up to 30,000 ISIS fighters remain in Iraq and Syria. President Trump’s move has been praised by some in the American peace movement and some progressive lawmakers, as well as anti-interventionist Republicans, including Senators Rand Paul and Mike Lee. But other Republican lawmakers have openly criticized Trump. Senator Lindsey Graham said, “An American withdrawal at this time would be a big win for ISIS, Iran, Bashar al-Assad of Syria, and Russia.”
In addition to the fight against ISIS, Syria remains the center of multiple proxy wars involving the United States, Russia, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Israel and other nations. We’ll have more on Trump’s decision and the situation in Syria after headlines.