The Trump administration pressed allies to commit to remaining in Syria after U.S. forces depart, a sign of how President Trump’s decision to abruptly end the military mission there has unleashed a scramble to cement security gains.
Acting defense secretary Patrick Shanahan on Friday met with counterparts from nations with troops deployed in Iraq and Syria at a security conference in Munich.
“While the time for U.S. troops on the ground in northeast Syria winds down, the United States remains committed to our coalition’s cause, the permanent defeat of ISIS,” Shanahan told reporters following the talks, characterizing Trump’s decision to withdraw all 2,000 U.S. troops in coming months as a “tactical change.”
Shanahan, speaking on the sidelines of the conference, said he is looking for other nations to step up as the United States concludes its ground mission by April. “I look forward to working together to put thoughts and plans into concrete action,” he said.
But European allies have so far expressed skepticism about assuming responsibility for a risky and politically fraught campaign, especially given the U.S. exit plans.
“At this point, we need to ask ourselves why U.S. allies would want to invest doubly in a mission whose future looks so deeply uncertain,” said Charles Lister, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute, a Washington think tank. “The risk involved here, being left out in the open, looks just too big for it to be justifiable in allied capitals.”
U.S. President Donald Trump declared in December 2018 that the U.S. troops in Syria will be returning home soon, claiming that the Islamic State "ISIS" organisation has been defeated, but hasn't announce a timeline for the withdrawal from Syria.
Source: The Washington Post.