Defending Syria Withdrawal, Trump Says U.S. Should Not Be ‘Policeman of the Middle East’,

President Trump on Thursday defended his plan to withdraw American troops from Syria against mounting criticism from Republicans and Democrats and concerns from his military and diplomatic advisers who were caught off guard by his abrupt announcement a day earlier.

“Getting out of Syria was no surprise,” Mr. Trump wrote in one of a series of Twitter posts on Thursday morning. He presented a string of justifications for his decision, including supportive quotes from a few who applauded his agenda.

The president also pushed back against reports — which he derided as “Fake News” — that the American military exit from Syria would advance Russian and Iranian foreign policy objectives. In Moscow, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia said he supported the plan and called it “the right decision.”[…]

American troops have been on the ground in Syria since 2015, working with a global coalition to defeat the Islamic State, a terrorist group that had claimed large parts of Iraq and Syria as its self-proclaimed caliphate. […]

The United States has sided with the Kurds and Sunni Arab rebels that are fighting the Islamic State and other jihadist groups. Russia is a longtime ally of Syria and a continued benefactor of Mr. Assad, an Alawite whose religion is linked to Shiism. Iranian troops and Shiite militias also support Mr. Assad.

An American troop withdrawal would be expected to remove key support for the Kurdish opposition in its fight against Mr. Assad’s government and bolster Russian and Iranian influence across Syria. Läs artikel