Senior US officials are giving conflicting accounts of President Donald Trump’s strategy on the presence of US troops in Syria.
In the latest stance, the White House has said the US does not plan to keep its troops in the war-torn country for the long run.
“The US mission has not changed — the president has been clear that he wants US forces to come home as quickly as possible,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a Sunday statement.
Sanders said the US expected its allies to take greater responsibility both militarily and financially to secure the region, repeating Trump’s regular rhetoric that US allies should also contribute to military and security operations and spending.
Sanders was apparently responding to French President Emmanuel Macron, who earlier said he had convinced Trump to keep US troops in Syria for the long term.
Meanwhile, striking a different note, Washington’s UN Ambassador Nikki Haley on Sunday insisted that the United States will not pull its troops out of Syria until its goals are accomplished.
“We are determined to completely crush ISIS and create the conditions that will prevent its return. In addition we expect our regional allies and partners to take greater responsibility both militarily and financially for securing the region,” she said.
Macron convinced Trump to stay in Syria?
French President Emmanuel Macron has claimed that he convinced US President Donald Trump to keep troops in Syria.
Macron made the remarks in an interview broadcast by BFM TV, RMC radio and Mediapart on Sunday, where he also defended his country’s participation in the joint air strikes on Syria.
“We convinced him it was necessary to remain there…We have complete international legitimacy to act in this framework,” he said. “We have three members of the (United Nations) Security Council who have intervened.”
Macron and Trump, who are reported to have a friendly relationship, spoke multiple times in the days before the missile attacks on Syria.