President Donald Trump has begun what will be a total withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, declaring on Wednesday they have succeeded in their mission to defeat Islamic State and were no longer needed in the country.
A decision to pull out completely, confirmed by U.S. officials and expected in the coming months, coincides with the roughly 2,000 U.S. troops finishing up a campaign to retake territory once held by Islamic State militants.
But it could leave the United States with few options to prevent a resurgence of Islamic State. It could also undercut U.S. leverage in the region and undermine diplomatic efforts to end the Syrian civil war, which is now in its eighth year.
“They’re all coming back and they’re coming back now. We won,” Trump declared on Wednesday in a video posted 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