Politics

Trump Begins Withdrawing Troops From Syria

(U.S. Army National Guard photo by 1st Lt. Leland White)

Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent

President Donald Trump has begun withdrawing troops from Syria, claiming victory in the war against the Islamic State, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced Wednesday.

US President Donald Trump attends the annual Army-Navy football game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, December 8, 2018. – Trump officiated the coin toss at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia between the Army Black Knights of the US Military Academy (USMA) and the Navy Midshipmen of the US Naval Academy (USNA). (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP)

“We have started returning United States troops home as we transition to the next phase of this campaign,” Sanders declared. “The United States and our allies stand ready to re-engage at all levels to defend American interests whenever necessary, and we will continue to work together to deny radical Islamist terrorists territory, funding, support, and any means of infiltrating our borders.”

Trump seemingly confirmed the report in a Wednesday morning tweet. (Related: Trump: ‘Mission Accomplished’ In Syria Strikes) 

“The Coalition has liberated the ISIS-held territory, but the campaign against ISIS is not over,” Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said Wednesday. “We have started the process of returning U.S. troops home from Syria as we transition to the next phase of the campaign. For force protection and operational security reasons we will not provide further details. We will continue working with our partners and allies to defeat ISIS wherever it operates.”

US President Donald Trump (L) watches an air assault exercise with Army Major General Walter Piatt at Fort Drum, New York, on August 13, 2018. – Trump spoke at a signing ceremony for the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP)

Trump has long wanted to withdraw troops from Syria, saying in April, “I want to get out” at a press conference, adding “I want to bring our troops back home.” The president reluctantly agreed to pleas from Secretary of Defense James Mattis to continue the mission after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons once again against his own populace.