President Trump said that U.S. forces would leave Syria “very soon” during a speech in Richfield, Ohio, on Thursday.
“We’re knocking the hell out of ISIS. We’ll be coming out of Syria, like, very soon,” President Trump said, referring to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). “Let the other people take care of it now.”
In December, the Pentagon said it had about 2,000 troops deployed in Syria. That same month, Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters that he expected the U.S. would start sending more diplomats and civilian personnel to the country as ISIS loses territory.
“What we will be doing is shifting from what I would call an offensive, shifting from an offensive terrain-seizing approach to a stabilizing … you’ll see more U.S. diplomats on the ground,” Mattis told reporters.
Last month, Trump said that the U.S. strategy in Syria was to defeat ISIS and then leave the country.
“We’re there for one reason: to get ISIS and get rid of ISIS and to go home,” he said during a press conference with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. “We’re not there for any other reason.”