US President Donald Trump has said that Iranians can “do whatever they want” in Syria
He said he would not intervene in any Iranian activity in the country once American troops have left.
His comments come a day after Israeli PM Netanyahu and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed ‘how to intensify even further Israel’s intelligence and operations cooperation in Syria’
“Iran is pulling people out of Syria, but they can frankly do whatever they want there,” the US president said during a Cabinet meeting at the White House in front of reporters.
Trump however refused to directly answer a question about when the U.S. would leave Syria, saying only that it will happen “over a period of time.” He said “I don’t know, somebody said four months but I didn’t say that either,….We want to protect the Kurds but I don’t want to be in Syria forever. It’s sand and it’s death.”
Press TV reports: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly asked Trump to prolong the withdrawal process to four months.
“We don’t want Syria. Obama gave up Syria years ago when he didn’t violate the red line. I did when I shot 59 missiles but that was a long time later. And when President Obama decided not to violate his statement that never cross the red line and then they did and he didn’t do anything about it.”
Trump’s decision to end the US military presence in Syria and scale it back in Afghanistan, made him further isolated as it led to resignation of General James Mattis as the United States Secretary of Defense.
Mattis reportedly failed to convince Trump that the US military presence in Syria is associated with maintaining critical alliances and partnerships.
The Republican president has tried to appear steadfast in his Syria policy despite disagreement from politicians within his own party and Pentagon officials.