President Trump said the Islamic State extremist group would suffer its final territorial defeat by Wednesday evening, even as U.S.-backed fighters in Syria were still completing the battle against the militants.
The U.S. military is crafting plans to keep nearly 1,000 forces in Syria, U.S. officials said, a shift that comes three months after President Trump ordered a complete withdrawal and is far more than the White House originally intended.
Trump administration officials didn’t secure commitments from key European allies to send military forces to Syria, passing a target date set for Friday, but said they would continue building their case for allied involvement to prevent a resurgence of the Islamic State extremist group.
The White House said on Thursday that it planned to leave about 200 American troops in Syria, signaling a partial retreat from President Trump’s announcement in December that he would withdraw all 2,000 forces after what he described as a victory over the Islamic State.
A bombing in Syria claimed by Islamic State killed at least four Americans on Wednesday, the Pentagon said, hardening divisions in Washington over President Trump’s plan to withdraw troops from the country.
U.S. forces in Syria sustained what may be their deadliest attack yet just a month after President Donald Trump claimed victory over Islamic State terrorists in the country and ordered a pullout of the American military.
“During his surprise visit to American troops in Iraq and Germany this week, President Trump singled out red “Make America Great Again” caps in a sea of military fatigues, signed a “Trump 2020” patch and accused Representative Nancy Pelosi and other leading Democrats of being weak on border security.”
“President Trump managed to do something remarkable with his abrupt order last week to withdraw all American troops from Syria and half from Afghanistan: unite the left and right against a plan to extract the United States from two long, costly and increasingly futile conflicts.”