'Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said President Donald Trump is willing to take action in Syria again but hopes he won't have to. It comes as the US prepares to withdraw troops, which Pompeo says will go ahead despite criticism.
Speaking in Cairo as part of a Middle East tour to reassure leaders that the US will maintain some sort of presence in the region, Pompeo declared that the US is still open to intervention in Syria, but he hoped that Trump “won’t have to.”
“When America retreats, chaos follows,” Pompeo said. “America will not retreat until the terror fight is over.”
Trump declared IS (Islamic State, formerly ISIS or ISIL) defeated and the US’ mission in Syria accomplished in December, and announced that the roughly 2,000 US troops there would be brought home. Withdrawing from foreign conflicts was one of Trump’s key campaign promises, but the announcement nevertheless shocked much of the Washington establishment and media.
Even within the Trump administration, key officials sought to temper Trump’s announcement. National Security Adviser John Bolton said that the withdrawal would only occur after the US had drawn up a contingency plan with its allies in the region to protect Kurdish fighters in Syria from Turkish forces, and to contain Iranian influence in the war-stricken country.
Pompeo struck a similar tone on Thursday, declaring that the US will still carry out airstrikes in Syria as the need arises, and will not completely abandon the region until the “complete dismantling of the ISIS threat” is achieved. Pompeo also promised continued airstrikes in Yemen, which has been pounded by US and Saudi strikes since 2015. He also declared that no foreign aid will be given to Syria until Iranian forces completely withdraw from the country.'
Read more: Trump is willing to take military action in Syria again if needed — Pompeo
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