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From The President’s Desk

“We Won”

“We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.”

With one tweet, the President ignites a firestorm about whether the U.S. will completely withdraw from Syria.

As of today, we don’t know when…or how…but here’s why it matters.

From The President’s Desk

HOW MANY TROOPS?

  • Est. 2,000 U.S. troops serve mainly as “advisers” to different groups fighting ISIS. For context: est. 5,000 U.S. troops remain “next door” in Iraq; est. 15,000 serve in Afghanistan.
  • The White House says troops will begin to return home, but the U.S. remains committed to the mission against ISIS and will “transition to the next phase of the campaign.”
From The President’s Desk

WHY LEAVE?

ISIS lost territory: Dept. of Defense estimates 90% of ISIS captured territory is now reclaimed.
ISIS lost leverage: Areas once held by ISIS, like strategic cities like Raqqa, are now free from ISIS control.
Money: Pres. Trump has repeatedly said America has wasted money in the Middle East and he wants to reinvest elsewhere.

From The President’s Desk

WHY STAY?

  • Defense Dept reports 14,000+ ISIS fighters remain in Syria, but also says number is in flux.
  • In April, the Special Ops Gen. called Syria “the most aggressive electronic warfare environment on the planet” (Syria/Russia jam American aircraft).
  • Withdrawing U.S. troops may embolden anti-American actors: Russia & Iran.
From The President’s Desk

BIG PICTURE

“The biggest winners in this are ISIS and Iran.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who often supports the President, echoing others who believe countering Iran remains an important reason for the U.S. to maintain a presence in Syria. Iran, a state sponsor of terror, supports the Assad regime in Syria. Sen. Graham says this decision will make it more dangerous for Americans in the region & back at home.
From The President's Desk

The last American soldier killed in Syria died in a roadside bomb attack back in March - the same month the President said the U.S. would leave Syria "very soon." A total of 4 American soldiers have reportedly died in Syria since 2014.

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