Less than three months after ordering the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, President Donald Trump wrote to Senators and Representatives that he now agrees “100%” with keeping a military presence in the war-torn country.
On February 22, a bipartisan group of Senators and Representatives wrote to Trump wrote him a letter on this issue. The letter supported Trump’s recent decision to keep some U.S. military units in Syria as a part of a multination force.
“We support a small American stabilizing force in Syria … Which includes a small contingent of American troops and ground forces from our European allies, is essential to ensure stability and prevent the return of ISIS,” the letter reads.
“I agree 100%. ALL is being done,” President Trump responded, writing directly on the letter and signing it, according to a report released by the NBC News on March 5.
In the letter, the Congressmen set three main goals for the U.S. in Syria, which are ensuring that all of the gains US-made in Syria are not lost, that ISIS never returns, ensuring that Iran is not emboldened in Syria, and ensuring the best outcome in Geneva for the U.S. interests.
Trump’s U-turn was not a surprise by any means. Senior officials in Moscow and Damascus doubted his ability to carry on with the withdrawal decision on several occasions, specially when he faced a backlash from the mainstream media and officials within his own administration.
This new shift in Trump’s policy on Syria will likely effect the US relations with Turkey. Ankara was planning to launch a military operation against Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria following the supposed withdrawal of U.S. forces. Trump’s new decision has effectively put an end to this plan.