Trump likely to keep American troops in Syria for now: Reports



WASHINGTON: Days after indicating that US troops would be withdrawn soon from Syria, President Trump has agreed to keep them in the war-torn country for now after facing pressure from his national security adviser, media reports said on Thursday.

At an event last week, President Trump stated that he expected the US troops to leave Syria “soon”, where the country had kept its troops from long with the goal of eventually ousting the government of Syria President Bashar Asad.

His comments were in contrast to the position taken by his top military and State Department officials made the same day at a separate event where they said that the US troops in Syria were fighting ISIS and that the mission there was not over and going to be completed.

According to a CNN report, President Trump had a meeting with his national security adviser on Tuesday to discuss the future of American troops in Syria and was warned by CIA Director Mike Pompeo and Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, who reportedly said that such a decision would be a mistake.

A media report, quoting CNN said that President Trump was annoyed by the pushback from his advisers, but agreed to leave the American troops in the country for the time being. But, he reportedly stressed that troops would not stay beyond the defeat of ISIS and that he has already told the Pentagon to prepare for withdrawal.

There are currently about 2000 US troops in Syria which is fighting the ISIS in the country and in neighboring Iraq. Trump reportedly agreed at the meeting with his national security advisers that US troops could still be kept in the country to train local forces.

According to reports, Defense Secretary James Mattis told the president that while the battle to eradicate ISIS from the region was nearly completed, withdrawing troops would risk reemergence of the militant group.