The Pentagon said today that two members of the U.S.-led coalition fighting in Syria were killed, and another five wounded, after they set off an improvised explosive device. A spokesperson declined to identify the nationalities of the dead and wounded. The report came a day after President Trump told a campaign rally in Ohio that the U.S. was preparing to pull out of Syria.
President Donald Trump: “We’re knocking the hell out of ISIS. We’ll be coming out of Syria like very soon. Let the other people take care of it now. Very soon. Very soon, we’re coming out. We’re going to have 100 percent of the caliphate, as they call it—sometimes referred to as 'land'. We’re taking it all back, quickly. Quickly. But we’re going to be coming out of there real soon. Going to get back to a country, where we belong, where we want to be.”
Earlier this month, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced U.S. troops will remain indefinitely in Syria. Trump’s comments Thursday appeared to catch administration officials by surprise. This is State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert, being questioned Thursday by reporter Matt Lee of the Associated Press.
Matt Lee: “So you’re not aware of any policy determination to pull the U.S. out of Syria?”
Heather Nauert: “I am not, no. No.”
Matt Lee: “OK. So the president is just speaking off the cuff and making up policy as he goes along, without telling any”—
Heather Nauert: “I don’t know. I don’t know. I’d have to refer you back to the White House.”