President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced the withdrawal of US Military units from Syria, drawing widespread criticism from analysts who believe that the move could strengthen Russia and Iran’s presence in the region. The President has also drawn flak for announcing the move at a time when ISIS is regrouping in the restive North-Western part of Syria.
In the face of growing resentment against the announcement for rapid disengagement of US military personnel in Syria, Trump has defended his decision arguing that the fight against ISIS “has been won”. President Donald Trump made the sudden announcement in a video posted on his Twitter account, where he invoked the memory of US Military personnel martyred or injured in the war against Daesh.
Trump tweeted on Wednesday: “They’re all coming back and they’re coming back now. We won, and that’s the way we want it and that’s the way they want it”. The President further defended his decision by tweeting: “After historic victories against ISIS, it’s time to bring our great young people home!”
The announcement has shocked Republican and Democrats alike, who accused the administration of misinforming lawmakers, especially in the wake of government reports that suggest the reemergence of ISIS in the remote pockets of Syria. The terror group is regrouping and coming out of hiding in the expansive Syrian desert. Congressmen argue that without significant US military presence, the country is effectively ceding all its influence to Tehran and Moscow who back Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.
The sudden decision has also caught administration officials off-guard who failed to explain the timing, scale and reason for the withdrawal. The Pentagon had earlier indicated that the US military was committed to maintaining an effective presence in Syria until extremist forces, particularly ISIS were completely eliminated. However, they now argue that it was entirely the President’s prerogative and discretion to initiate a pull out.
There are currently 2,000 US military Special Forces stationed in Northern Syria who provide equipment and training to allied militias, such as the Kurdish YPG and democratic SDF. Trump had earlier expressed his desire to pull US military troops out of Syria and Iraq as part of his Presidential campaign.
The decision would mean effectively surrendering the Levant to Russia and Iran. The void left by Washington in Syria would result in interesting geo-political dynamics taking shape in the Middle East.
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