Trump: Turkey And Saudi Arabia Will Step Up In Syria

Saagar Enjeti | White House Correspondent

President Donald Trump justified his decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria, noting Monday that Turkey and Saudi Arabia would instead bear the brunt of the remaining anti-Islamic State effort.

Trump noted Sunday that he had a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about the situation in Syria and his pledges to support anti-ISIS efforts.

Trump has received pointed criticism from several congressional Republicans and others for his Syria decision who warn that ISIS is not yet wholly defeated in Syria and that a withdrawal will abandon allies on the ground.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan gesture as they talk at the start of the NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium July 11, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo -

U.S. President Donald Trump and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan gesture as they talk at the start of the NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium July 11, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo –

U.S. strategy to defeat ISIS relied primarily on training, equipping, and supporting Syrian Kurdish forces on the ground. Turkey, however, is vehemently opposed to U.S. support for Syrian Kurdish forces and considers them a terrorist group intent on challenging the legitimacy of the Turkish state.

Trump has repeatedly said in recent days that the U.S. has no other role in Syria than to destroy ISIS and now that the vast majority of its caliphate is gone the nearly 2,000 troops on the ground are no longer necessary.

U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

The decision has roiled the national security establishment and prompted the resignation of Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Brett McGurk, the U.S. special envoy to the anti-ISIS fight. McGurk’s resignation in particular has piqued Trump, who noted on Twitter that he was not familiar with him and his past association with the Obama administration. (RELATED: Here’s How Mattis Will Implement Trump’s Transgender Troop Ban For Now)

McGurk and Mattis both left their positions because they disagreed strongly with Trump’s decision. Mattis also penned a letter of resignation for Trump disagreeing with much of his worldview.

Tags : donald trump recep tayyip erdogan saudi arabia syria turkey
Loading comments...
© Copyright 2010 - 2018 | The Daily Caller