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Iran Press TV

Trump 'persuaded not to pull out immediately' from Syria: Officials

Iran Press TV

Thu Apr 5, 2018 05:23AM

Some US officials say President Donald Trump has been persuaded not to withdraw troops from Syria immediately, despite his recent announcement that the United States would "be coming out of Syria very soon."

According to reports, top US Defense and State Department officials have adopted a totally different stance than that of Trump's regarding the withdrawal of American troops from Syria, arguing that the US shall not leave the Arab country anytime soon as the "mission is not over."

Trump's advisers now have reportedly convinced him that an abrupt withdrawal from Syria could risk resurgence by the Daesh terrorist group

The White House said on Wednesday the US military mission in Syria would come to a "rapid end," but refused to provide a timetable for a complete troop withdrawal.

The White House statement said Daesh was almost completely decimated, and that Washington would consult its allies about the American withdrawal.

A top Trump administration official told NBC News on Wednesday that the president agreed in a meeting with his national security team Tuesday to keep American military presence in Syria for an undetermined period, but "wasn't thrilled about it, to say the least."

When his advisers told him they needed more time to complete the mission, Trump demanded to know how much longer, the senior administration official said.

"If you need more time, how much more time do you need? Six months? A year?" he asked, according to the official.

His team said they could not tell how long it will take to defeat Daesh terrorists and train local forces to protect their gains after the United States leaves.

The official said Trump reluctantly agreed to give the effort more time when advisers reminded him that he has spoken against setting deadlines in foreign military operations in the past.

Meanwhile, addressing a forum in Washington, DC, on Tuesday, US Central Command Chief General Joseph Votel said "well over 90 percent" of land once held by Daesh in Iraq and Syria had been recaptured, particularly in the north and eastern parts of the country, but added that the military must maintain its presence there.

"There still are some areas where they are present and that we will have to continue to operate on," Votel said.

Speaking alongside Votel, the State Department's senior envoy to the so-called anti-Daesh coalition, Brett McGurk, agreed that "ISIL is not finished."

"We are in Syria to fight ISIL. That is our mission and our mission isn't over, and we're going to complete that mission," McGurk said.

On Sunday, Hawkish Republican Senator Lindsey Graham warned Trump against pulling American forces from Syria, saying it would lead to a re-emergence of Daesh.

Commenting on this, American political analyst E. Michael Jones said, "This is completely preposterous. These people [Daesh terrorist] were proxies of the United States to begin with. If the United States is not supporting them, they will not come back."

Last week, Trump announced that he wants to withdraw US troops from Syria, complaining that Washington has wasted trillions of dollars in Middle East wars.

But Trump's policy shift appears to put the president at odds with US military officials, who see the fight against Daesh as far from complete.

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.

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