Bolton Puts Conditions on Plan for Withdrawal From Syria

U.S. troops will not leave northeastern Syria until Islamic State militants are defeated and American-allied Kurdish fighters are protected, a top White House aide said Sunday, signaling a pause to a withdrawal abruptly announced last month and initially expected to be completed within weeks.While U.S. national security adviser John Bolton said there is now no timetable, President Donald Trump reaffirmed his commitment to withdrawing U.S. troops, though the president said “we won’t be finally pulled out until ISIS is gone.”

Trump had said in his Dec. 19 withdrawal announcement that U.S. forces “have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency,” and added in a video posted to Twitter, “Now it’s time for our troops to come back home.”

Bolton said in Israel that the U.S. would pull out only after its troops had rooted out what’s left of IS in Syria and after the administration had reached an agreement with Turkey to protect Kurdish militias who have fought alongside Americans against the extremists.

In Washington, Trump told reporters at the White House that “we are pulling back in Syria. We’re going to be removing our troops. I never said we’re doing it that quickly.” But in that Dec. 19 video, the president had said of the roughly 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria: “They’re all coming back, and they’re coming back now.”

 Read more at Real Clear Politics

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