WASHINGTON, April 4 — U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday reiterated his intention of bringing American troops back from Syria, citing that the fighting against the extremist group Islamic State (IS) was close to being complete.
“A decision” will be made soon, Trump said at a joint press conference at the White House with visiting leaders from three Baltic countries.
“Our primary mission in terms of that was getting rid of ISIS (IS). We’ve almost completed that task and we’ll be making a decision very quickly in coordination with others, as to what we’ll do,” he said.
“I want to bring our troops home,” Trump added.
Trump’s remarks seemed to be at odds with opinions of the U.S. military. The Pentagon and State Department have advised that a much longer-term effort is necessary to defeat the militant group.
The U.S. president also complained that the United States has spent 7 trillion U.S. dollars in the Middle East in the past 17 years, which has brought “nothing, except death and destruction.”
Trump has grumbled about the U.S. military presence in Syria. In a speech in the U.S. state of Ohio last week, he said that his country will withdraw its troops in Syria “very soon.”
Trump also ordered a hold over the weekend on more than 200 million dollars in recovery funds for Syria, according to U.S. media reports.
Also on Tuesday, Brett McGurk, special presidential envoy for the U.S.-led coalition to defeat the IS, said that the fight was not over.
“We are in Syria to fight ISIS (IS),” he said at a public event in Washington. “That is our mission and that mission isn’t over and we are going to complete that mission.”