We spent $7 tril­lion in the Mid­dle East. And you know what we have for it? Noth­ing.

Arab News - - INTERNATIONAL -

size­able forces in the coun­try to sup­port Pres­i­dent Bashar As­sad’s regime.

“Very soon — very soon we’re com­ing out. We’re go­ing to have 100 per­cent of the caliphate, as they call it — some­times re­ferred to as ‘land’ — tak­ing it all back quickly, quickly,” he said.

“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.”

Asked whether the US would be with­draw­ing troops from Syria, State Depart­ment spokes­woman Heather Nauert said she was not aware of any such plan.

Asked on Fri­day whether US forces had been in­formed of a de­ci­sion to with­draw or were pre­par­ing to do so, the spokesman for the coali­tion said he would not com­ment on fu­ture op­er­a­tions.

In emailed an­swers to Reuters, Col. Ryan Dil­lon said Daesh still held ter­ri­tory at two lo­ca­tions in Syria — near Ha­jjin along the Euphrates River and at Dashisha near the bor­der with Iraq.

He said coali­tion of­fen­sive op­er­a­tions had been lim­ited as a re­sult of events in north­west Syria, where the SDF and YPG have been fight­ing a Turk­ish in­cur­sion tar­get­ing the YPG in the Afrin re­gion.

“The coali­tion and the SDF con­tinue to find op­por­tu­ni­ties to ex­ploit ISIS (Daesh) weak­nesses and con­duct strikes against the re­main­ing ter­ror­ists,” he said.

The US has more than 2,000 mil­i­tary per­son­nel in eastern Syria, work­ing with lo­cal mili­tia groups to de­feat Daesh while try­ing to keep out of Syria’s broader civil war.

Trump’s ea­ger­ness to quit the con­flict flies in the face of a new US Syria strat­egy an­nounced in Jan­uary by then Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son — who has since been sacked.

Tiller­son ar­gued that US forces must re­main en­gaged in Syria to pre­vent Daesh and Al-Qaeda from re­turn­ing and to deny Iran a chance “to fur­ther strengthen its po­si­tion in Syria.”

In a speech at Stan­ford Univer­sity, he also warned that “a to­tal with­drawal of Amer­i­can per­son­nel at this time would re­store As­sad and con­tinue his bru­tal treat­ment against his own peo­ple.”

But Tiller­son has gone af­ter be­ing dis­missed in a tweet. And Trump, who in­creas­ingly makes for­eign pol­icy an­nounce­ments with­out seek­ing the ad­vice of US gen­er­als or diplo­mats, wants out.

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