Trump Says US Will Withdraw from Syria 'Very Soon'
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – US President Donald Trump said Thursday that the US would "be coming out of Syria like very soon," just hours after the Pentagon highlighted the need for US troops to remain in the country for the immediate future.
"We're knocking the hell out of ISIS (Daesh). We'll be coming out of Syria like very soon. Let the other people take care of it now," Trump told supporters at an Ohio event on infrastructure, CNN reported.
"We are going to have 100% of the caliphate, as they call it, sometimes referred to as land ... But we are going to be coming out of there real soon. We are going to get back to our country, where we belong, where we want to be," Trump added.
One US defense official directly familiar with the Daesh campaign said it is unclear what the President meant by the comments.
Trump also complained that the US has wasted trillions of dollars in Middle East wars, but gets "nothing" in return.
"We spent $7 trillion in the Middle East. And you know what we have for it? Nothing," Trump declared, promising to focus future US spending on building jobs and infrastructure at home.
"Remember I used to say 'keep the oil' as a civilian. We never kept the oil. If we kept the oil, we would have been OK. If we kept the oil, we wouldn't have ISIS, because you know who kept a lot of the oil: ISIS. That's how they funded themselves. They kept the oil. We didn't keep the oil. Stupid, stupid," he said.
Trump's remarks on pulling out of Syria were made just hours after chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana White told reporters that "important work remains to guarantee the lasting defeat of these violent extremists", referring to Daesh.
In January, then US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced that the US military would remain in Syria indefinitely.
The US and its allies have been bombarding what they call Daesh positions inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate.
Syria has on several occasions written to the UN, complaining that the US was flagrantly violating its sovereignty. The US supports militants fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad and has repeatedly attacked Syrian army positions.