Amid reports that the U.S. is planning a full withdrawal of troops from Syria, President Donald Trump issued a terse tweet.
“We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency,” he wrote.
We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 19, 2018
As many commentators have pointed out, in no way has ISIS been “defeated” in Syria — contrary to what is heard on Fox News. On Wednesday, Reuters reported that ISIS militants in Syria had killed 700 prisoners in two months, according to a watchdog. The Defense Department estimated the number of ISIS members in Syria and Iraq as high as 30,000.
The withdrawal also raises questions as to the outcome of the Syrian civil war, a bloody conflict that since 2011 has killed half a million Syrians and displaced millions more. The government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, with the military might of Russia and Iran behind it, has sometimes invited retaliatory strikes from the United States for use of chemical weapons — though the 2,000 ground troops stationed in the war-torn country are primarily focused on training local forces to fight ISIS.
[Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images]
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