Allies urge withdrawing US to stay the course on Syria

World Today

President Donald Trump speaks at the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS meeting at the State Department in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

The Global Coalition to Defeat Islamic State has met here in Washington, D.C. amid conflicting signals over where the U.S stands.

President Trump is withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria. But his allies are arguing the Islamic insurgents continue to pose a threat in Syria and beyond.

CGTN’s Owen Fairclough reports.

Seventy-nine countries and organizations all meeting with one aim: defeating Islamic State, also known as ISIL.

And yet Donald Trump thinks its near-total defeat in Syria is enough to bring home 2,000 U.S. troops helping allies there.

“It should be formally announced sometime probably next week that we will have 100 percent of the caliphate,” Trump told the Global Anti-ISIS meeting of allies.

Those allies were in Washington urging the U.S. to stay the course – their view shared by the American general in charge of the ISIS campaign, who warned lawmakers ISIS could return in Syria.

Perhaps with that in mind, the U.S. Secretary of State sought to clarify Washington’s position.

“In this new era, local law enforcement and information sharing will be crucial, and our fight will not necessarily always be military-led. That’s why President Trump’s announcement that U.S. troops will be withdrawing from Syria is not the end of America’s fight. The fight is one that we will continue to wage alongside of you,” U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the meeting.

Trump is also looking to end more than 17 years of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, where ISIS is also present.

The U.S. President has ordered the withdrawal of 7,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan—roughly half the forces deployed there. 

But he wants to keep a U.S. presence there for future counter- terrorism operations—a suggestion rejected by the Taliban.

It’s negotiating a peace settlement with the U.S after 17 years of war and wants all foreign forces out of Afghanistan as part of any deal.