Non-interventionists were severely riled after reports hit that 1,000 troops would remain in Syria indefinitely, but the Trump administration is saying that those reports were fake news.
“A claim reported this evening by a major U.S. newspaper that the U.S. military is developing plans to keep nearly 1,000 U.S. troops in Syria is factually incorrect,” said General Joseph Dunford, who is chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in a public statement.
“There has been no change to the plan announced in February and we continue to implement the President’s direction to draw down U.S. forces to a residual presence,” Dunford added.
Dunford did confirm though that U.S. troops remain in the region working on “conduct detailed military planning with the Turkish General Staff to address Turkish security concerns along the Turkey-Syria border.”
“Planning to date has been productive and we have an initial concept that will be refined in the coming days,” Dunford said.
“We are also conducting planning with other members of the Coalition who have indicated an intent to support the transition phase of operations into Syria,” he added.
If the Trump administration is telling the truth, the plan remains to keep around 200 US troops in the region for “peacekeeping” purposes like making sure that the Turks don’t attack their Kurdish rivals and ensuring that ISIS does not suddenly rebound in the region.
While this may cause blowback from the Turks who are annoyed by US meddling, it is still an impressive drawback in Syria and quite a difference from the belligerent neocon policies of the past. Although the peace is still incredibly tenuous, the Trump administration is clearly moving in the direction of non-interventionism in the Middle East.
We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 19, 2018
I inherited a total mess in Syria and Afghanistan, the “Endless Wars” of unlimited spending and death. During my campaign I said, very strongly, that these wars must finally end. We spend $50 Billion a year in Afghanistan and have hit them so hard that we are now talking peace…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 1, 2019
The deep state and the fake news will certainly do everything in their power to sabotage the peace, but Trump must remain firm if he truly intends to fulfill his ‘America First’ mandate.