Small Wars Journal

As Trump Talks of Leaving Syria, His Top Commander in the Middle East Emphasizes the Need to Stay

As Trump Talks of Leaving Syria, His Top Commander in the Middle East Emphasizes the Need to Stay by Karen DeYoung and Missy Ryan – Washington Post

President Trump on Tuesday repeated his desire to quickly “get out” of Syria, even as his top commander for the Middle East outlined the need for an ongoing military presence there.

“A lot of very good military progress has been made over the last couple of years, but the hard part, I think, is in front of us,” said Gen. Joseph L. Votel, head of U.S. Central Command. Upcoming efforts, he said, include the military’s role in “stabilizing [Syria], consolidating gains” and “addressing long-term issues of reconstruction” after the defeat of the Islamic State.

The two spoke simultaneously in Washington. Votel, joined in remarks at the U.S. Institute of Peace by the administration’s top diplomatic envoy to the U.S.-led coalition against the militants and by the head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, discussed the need to align military operations with those of diplomatic and aid activities on the ground.

Barely a mile away, Trump told a White House news conference that “I want to get out. I want to bring our troops back home.” …

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