President Donald Trump has agreed to new objectives that will keep American troops on the ground in Syria indefinitely to ensure Iranian forces are driven out of the country according to senior State Department officials.
Trump approved the new strategy and also launched a major diplomatic push to achieve American objectives there.
It was only back in April hat Trump said he wanted “to get out” of Syria and bring U.S. troops home ‘soon’.
But the administration has now redefined its goals to include the exit of all Iranian military and proxy forces from Syria, and to the establishment of a stable government which is ‘non threatening’ and acceptable to all Syrians and the international community.
Anti War reports: US troops are in several parts of Syria, mostly in the Kurdish-held northeast. An estimated 2,200 US troops are in Syria, though official numbers are being withheld from the public.
Special Envoy James Jeffrey said the old plan was to leave Syria by year’s end, but now the troops are committed to an “indefinitely extended” stay.
The new goals are substantial as well, with the US now focusing on forcing Iran out of Syria and “enduring defeat” for ISIS. Jeffrey says the US is “not in a hurry” and that Trump is now on board with this idea.
Pentagon officials have long presented the operation in Syria as more or less permanent, and have resisted all talk of pullout, including from President Trump. This mirrors their policy in Iraq, where US troops are similarly positioned in unknown numbers on a more or less permanent basis.
Trump, interestingly, has not commented on this fairly dramatic change in his position on US troops in Syria. It is unclear why Trump hasn’t spoken on the matter, but there is no sign such comments are coming in the near future