Trump pushes back against France comments that U.S. will remain in Syria for ‘long-term’


By Middle East Affairs

After French President Emmanuel Macron said he had convinced U.S. President Donald Trump to keep United States forces in Syria, Trump reiterated Sunday his desire to bring troops home as soon as possible.

“The U.S. mission has not changed – the president has been clear that he wants U.S. forces to come home as quickly as possible,” spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement at the White House.

“We are determined to completely crush ISIS and create the conditions that will prevent its return.” However she also said the U.S. wants its regional allies and partners “to take greater responsibility both militarily and financially for securing the region.”

On Saturday, Macron said he had convinced Trump to keep U.S. troops in Syria for the “long term.”

“We convinced him it was necessary to remain there,” Macron said in telephone calls Saturday before France carried out joint air strikes in Syria with the United States and Britain. The air strikes were in response to an alleged chemical attack in Syria on April 7, which much of the global community has blamed on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“We have complete international legitimacy to act in this framework,” he said in an interview on BFM TV, RMC radio and Mediapart online news. “We have three members of the (United Nations) Security Council who have intervened.”

Trump has previously made comments about possibly pulling United States troops out of Syria, which has is currently in a seven-year civil war between Assad and rebel groups.

Trump said he wants to remove the 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria who are part of the anti-Islamic State campaign. But Saturday he said the U.S. and its Western allies would carry out more military responses if Assad uses chemical weapons again.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Sunday the United States would not remove itself from Syria until its goals were accomplished, Haaretz said.

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