On Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump had a joint conference with the leaders of the Baltic States, which included the Presidents of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. During this press conference, Trump announced that he wants the U.S. to “get out” of Syria and that he wants to “bring our troops back home,” while adding that the White House administration is “very seriously” considering this change in military policy for Syria.
“We’ll be making a decision as to what we do,” said the President. “I want to get out and bring our troops back home. I want to start rebuilding our nation.”
“We get nothing out of it. Nothing. Nothing,” Trump stated, referring to U.S.’s counterterrorism missions in Syria. “Seven trillion. We have nothing except death and destruction—it’s a horrible thing. We were very successful against ISIS, we’ll be successful against anyone militarily, but sometimes it’s time to come home and we’ll be thinking about that very seriously.”
Trump highlighted the success of U.S. troops in combating ISIS groups in that region. He said that he will be consulting foreign leaders and his own advisors first, before making a decision regarding the U.S. military presence in Syria.
The President is more inclined towards bringing the troops back home, however, he did posit the idea that the U.S. military presence and combat in the region could be extended, if other countries of that region such as Saudi Arabia pay for the expenses concurred during the mission.
“Saudi Arabia is very interested in our decision. I said, ‘Well, you want us to stay, maybe you are going to have to pay,'” said Trump.
“It’s very costly for our country and it helps other countries a hell of a lot more than it helps us.”
In a speech last week in Ohio, Trump had hinted at the same idea, of bringing the troops back home. “We’re knocking the hell out of ISIS. We’ll be coming out of Syria, like, very soon,” he said.
“Let the other people take care of it now. Very soon, very soon we’re coming out. We’re going to have a hundred percent of the caliphate, as they call it. Sometimes referred to as land, taking it all back. Quickly, quickly.”
While President Trumps wants to bring the troops back home, Special Envoy Brett McGurk who is representing the White House in the fight against ISIS, said in a statement with U.S. Army Gen. Joseph Votel, that the U.S. mission in Syria has not yet ended.
“We are in Syria to fight ISIS, that is our mission and our mission isn’t over and we are going to complete that mission,” said McGurk, while adding that “We will not rest until ISIS is gone.”
As of now, the U.S. along with its coalition partners have taken control of around 95% of the Syrian territory, that was previously taken over by the ISIS. However, U.S. officials believe that it will be harder to eliminate the remaining ISIS control, and could even take a couple of months.
On Tuesday, Trump announced that the U.S. mission in Syria is almost complete and the military’s success is reaching 100%.