President Trump has ordered the withdrawal of 2,000 American troops from Syria, bringing a sudden end to a military campaign that largely vanquished the Islamic State but ceding a strategically vital country to Russia and Iran.
In overruling his generals and civilian advisers, Trump fulfilled his frequently expressed desire to bring home American forces from a messy foreign entanglement. But his decision, conveyed via Twitter on Wednesday, plunges the administration’s Middle East strategy into disarray, rattling allies like Britain and Israel and forsaking Syria’s ethnic Kurds, who have been faithful partners in fighting the Islamic State.
The abrupt, chaotic nature of the move and the opposition it immediately provoked on Capitol Hill and beyond raised questions about how Trump will follow through with the full withdrawal. Even after the president’s announcement, officials said, the Pentagon and State Department continued to try to talk him out of it.
“We have won against ISIS. Our boys, our young women, our men they’re all coming back, and they’re coming back now. We won, and that’s the way we want it, and that’s the way they want it,”Mr. Trump declared in a video posted Wednesday evening on Twitter.
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