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Trump says US will withdraw from Syria ‘very soon’

30 March 2018 9:42

 

President Donald Trump has announced that the US will withdraw from Syria “very soon,” just hours after the Pentagon highlighted the need for American troops to remain in the war-torn country.

“We will be coming out of Syria, like, very soon. Let the other people take care of it now,” Trump said on Thursday during a speech on infrastructure spending in the state of Ohio.

The US has reportedly more than 2,000 troops stationed in eastern Syria, in addition to several thousand others in the Arab country’s north.

“But we’re going to be coming out of there real soon. Going to get back to our country, where we belong, where we want to be,” Trump said.

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 (Daesh), 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.

On Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova voiced alarm at US plans to fortify its military presence in Syria, saying heavy equipment was arriving at the American base in the eastern town of al-Tanf in Homs Province.

“We are still concerned about reports that the United States and its allies are consolidating their illegal military presence in the territory of sovereign Syria. In particular, heavy military equipment is arriving in the zone established by the United States around the settlements of al-Tanf in the southeast of the country,” Zakharova said.

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.

The strikes, however, have on many occasions resulted in civilian casualties and failed to fulfill their declared aim of countering terrorism.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry has on several occasions written to the UN, complaining that the US is flagrantly violating the sovereignty of Syria by targeting residential neighborhoods.

The US also supports militants fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and has directly targeted Syrian military positions.

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