ATHENS, Greece – US President Donald Trump has told his advisers that he wants the US to leave Syria soon, two senior government officials said on Friday, an opinion likely to bring him into a controversy with US army officers who believe that the fight against the Islamic State (IS) is not over.
Earlier next week, the US National Security Council is about to discuss the Washington-led campaign against IS in Syria, according to US officials who are familiar with the case.
Two other government officials yesterday confirmed to the Wall Street Journal, according to which Trump called on the State Department to freeze more than 200m euros of funds to rebuild Syria for as long as its government is reviewing its role Washington to the warring country.
The US president has asked to freeze these funds after reading a press article stating that the US has recently pledged to provide an additional $200 million to stabilize the areas recaptured by the US-led coalition, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Former US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had announced this sum at a conference of the International Coalition Against Foreign Affairs held in Kuwait in February.
In addition, Trump announced during a speech from Richfield, Ohio on Thursday that it is time for the US to leave Syria.
“We will leave Syria very soon,” Trump said. “Let others take take care of it now. Very soon, we will leave very soon,” he added. “We will return to our country, where we belong, where we want to be.”
The statements of the US president are in contradiction with France’s intention to increase its military presence in Syria in order to strengthen the US-led coalition.
Although the Pentagon estimates that the IS has lost about 98% of its territories in Iraq and Syria, US officers have warned that Islamists may recapture the liberalized areas unless they stabilize. But they have yet to convince Trump.
Yesterday, an American and a British soldier were killed by an improvised explosive device in Syria. They are the first soldiers of the international coalition to fight the IS that are killed or injured this year.
According to two US officials who wanted to remain anonymous, the incident occurred near the city of Manbij in northern Syria.
Still, Trump wonders why the United States should remain in Syria, now that it seems to be illegal.
The US president has made it clear that “once the IS and its remnants have been exterminated, the US will have to wait for other countries in the region to play a more important role in securing security,” said an American official who spoke to Reuters.
However, this has not happened yet, he stressed.
A second official pointed out that the Trump’s National Security Advisers have told him that the US forces should remain in Syria in small numbers for at least two more years to ensure that the territories that have been deported of the Islamists will remain safe and take care of that the country will not be transformed into a permanent base of Iran.
At present, about 2,000 US soldiers are in Syria.
Translated from Militaire.