Two months after President Donald Trump announced all American troops would be leaving Syria, the commander-in-chief backpedalled on his decision in a letter to Congress, stating he now agreed “100 per cent” with keeping a military presence in the conflict-struck country.
Late last year, Mr Trump announced the United States “won against Isis” and that he would be withdrawing all of the approximately 2,000 troops from Syria. In a video message uploaded to Twitter on December 19 2018, the president declared: “Our boys, our young women, our men, they’re all coming back and they’re coming back now.”
The president’s change of heart was revealed in his response to a letter sent by a bipartisan group of senators and representatives to Mr Trump on February 22. The politicians applauded the president after White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed in late February the US would be keeping a small-scale military presence there.
“We support a small American stabilising force in Syria,” the letter read, adding that keeping a military presence “which includes a small contingent of American troops and ground forces from our European allies, is essential to ensure stability and prevent the return of Isis”.
Mr Trump sent the legislators a photocopy of the letter and highlighted a paragraph in it detailing the group’s goal, which states: “Like you, we seek to ensure that all of the gains made in Syria are not lost, that Isis never returns, that Iran is not emboldened, and that we consolidate our gains and ensure the best outcome in Geneva for American interests.”
The president then responded by writing directly on the letter.
“I agree 100%. ALL is being done,” Mr Trump hand wrote and signed in black marker.
A full copy of the letter, obtained by NBC News, can be viewed here.
Since before assuming the Oval Office, Mr Trump vowed to end the war against the Islamic State citing it has placed a burden on the American taxpayer and resulted in too many deaths.
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