President Trump says he's willing to keep troops in Syria — for now

Posted at 9:53 AM, Apr 04, 2018

President Donald Trump has told his national security team that he is willing to keep US troops in Syria in the short-term, but made it known he wants US troops to exit soon in a meeting on Tuesday, a senior administration official told CNN.

Trump has said publicly that he's ready to withdraw troops from Syria, but his top military commanders have argued the battle against ISIS is not yet complete.

Trump said during the session on Tuesday that he wants to defeat ISIS but that the costs of stabilizing Syria must be borne by regional players.



CNN reported earlier that Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said in a breakfast with reporters that a decision was made Tuesday at the White House over whether to withdraw from Syria.

He would not say what the decision was nor what the timeline is for an announcement.

Trump surprised military leaders last week when he said the US would "be coming out of Syria like very soon," just hours after the Pentagon highlighted the need for US troops to remain in the country for the immediate future.

Senior administration officials have been discussing for some time the way ahead in Syria and what conditions would need to be met to permit a US withdrawal, a US defense official directly familiar with the ISIS campaign told CNN last week, but added that while Trump could decide at any time to pull out, military commanders were not recommending that course of action at this time.

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