The former director of the CIA and Defense Department in the Obama administration said the “fundamental problem” in dealing with Bashar al-Assad and President Trump’s talk of withdrawal “is that the United States has really never had a strategy with regards to Syria.”
At a campaign-rally-style speech in Ohio before spring break, Trump vowed “we’ll be coming out of Syria, like, very soon” as the U.S. will “let the other people take care of it now.”
Trump continued to express his desire to pull out, though last week reportedly dropped his insistence for an immediate withdrawal on the objections of military leaders who cautioned that the job is not done there yet. ISIS maintains positions in the Middle Euphrates River Valley and south Damascus, and the U.S.-allied Syrian Democratic Forces have had some of their manpower pulled away from the MERV fight to defend Kurdish cities from a Turkish onslaught.
The president has not publicly pushed the prospect of pullout since Assad’s weekend gas attack on civilians in Douma, which killed dozens.
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