December 20, Washington: US President Donald Trump, who has long wanted to withdraw troops from the war-torn region, finally ordered the Pentagon an immediate withdrawal of 2,000 American troops from Syria. This decision from The White House has brought a sudden end to a military campaign that largely vanquished the Islamic State but ceding a strategically vital country to Russia and Iran.
President Trump posted a video on twitter on Wednesday suggesting that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is defeated and therefore, there is no reason to be there. "We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump presidency”, Trump tweeted Wednesday morning, without explicitly confirming an order to look to withdraw troops.
The President further expanded on that in a video tweet in the evening. "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 home”, he said in the video.
“These are great American heroes. These are great heroes of the world. Because they've fought for us, but they've killed ISIS, who hurts the world. And we're proud to have done it. And I'll tell you, they're up there looking down on us and there's nobody happier or more proud of their families to put them in a position where they've done such good for so many people”, Trump further added suggesting gratitude towards the martyred.
The White House has not provided a timetable or other specifics for the military departure. But, the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said in a statement, “We have started returning United States troops home as we transition to the next phase of this campaign”. Defense Department officials said that Mr Trump had ordered that the withdrawal be completed in 30 days.
The decision brought a storm of protest in Congress, even from Republican allies of Mr Trump’s like Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who said he had been “blindsided.” The House Democratic leader, Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, suggested that the president had acted out of “personal or political objectives” rather than national security interests.
The abrupt nature of the move, and the opposition it immediately provoked on Capitol Hill and beyond, raised questions about how Mr Trump will follow through with the full withdrawal. Even after the president’s announcement, officials said that the Pentagon and State Department continued to try to talk him out of it, according to The New York Times.