Trump defends Syria withdrawal after US envoy to anti-IS coalition quits
President Donald Trump on Saturday defended his decision to withdraw US forces from Syria after his envoy to the coalition fighting the Islamic State terror organization resigned in protest.
“When I became President, ISIS was going wild. Now ISIS is largely defeated and other local countries, including Turkey, should be able to easily take care of whatever remains. We’re coming home!” the US president tweeted.
Trump’s remarks came just hours after CBS and the Washington Post reported that the special US envoy to the anti-Islamic State (IS) coalition, Brett McGurk, presented his resignation in protest against the White House decision.
McGurk had planned to leave his post in February 2019, but on Friday told the State Department he wanted to leave the administration earlier, a move that will take effect next Dec. 31 according to the WaPo, which cited a US diplomatic official.
Considered the architect of US strategy against the IS, McGurk has worked for former Presidents George W. Bush, whom he advised on Iraq and Afghanistan, and Barack Obama, who named him special envoy to the anti-Jihadism coalition.
McGurk’s decision follows the resignation this week of Gen. James Mattis as defense secretary and comes after US President Donald Trump proclaimed the defeat of the IS in Syria and announced the withdrawal of the 2,000 US troops deployed in that country as part of an international coalition.