The withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria isn’t happening as quickly as President Donald Trump had originally planned.
According to an AP News report, national security advisor John Bolton said that the U.S. will withdraw troops from Syria only after the ISIS has been completely rooted out of the country. There will also need to be an agreement in place with Turkey to protect the Kurdish militias who have assisted U.S. troops in their fight against the extremist group.
This is a step back from the Dec. 19th video posted by President Trump, in which he stated, “They’re all coming back, and they’re coming back now.”
After historic victories against ISIS, it’s time to bring our great young people home! pic.twitter.com/xoNjFzQFTp
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 19, 2018
Senator Lindsey Graham (R – SC) told CBS’ “Face the Nation” that, “I think this is the reality setting in that you got to plan this out.”
Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria last month was met with widespread criticism from allies. It also contributed to the resignation of U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, and raised concerns that Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units would be left open to attack from Turkish forces.
Bolton said that one goal that must be met before the withdrawal is the safety of the U.S.’ Kurdish allies in Syria.
“We don’t think the Turks ought to undertake military action that’s not fully coordinated with and agreed to by the United States,” he said. Bolton will be in Turkey on Monday, where he will be meeting with Turkish officials, “to find out what their objectives and capabilities are.”
According to Bolton, after the drawdown, some U.S. troops will remain in the al-Tanf area of southern Syria in order to counter Iranian activity there. Others will shift to Iraq with a similar mission to fight ISIS there.