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Ex-US envoy in ISIS fight: ‘There’s no plan for what’s coming’ after US troop withdrawal in Syria

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The former U.S. special envoy in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS) said Sunday warned against the consequences of pulling American. troops out of Syria, lamenting that “there is no plan” for what comes next once the forces are gone.

“Announcing you’re going to withdraw and without a plan — and believe me there’s no plan for what’s coming next. Right now We do not have a plan. — It increases the vulnerability of our force, it increases the environment on the ground in Syria,” Brett McGurk, the former special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

McGurk, who submitted his resignation shortly after President Trump announced last month that he was pulling U.S. troops out of Syria, said the absence of Americans will create a void in leadership and lead to openings for ISIS to rebound.

{mosads}He suggested that Trump went against the overwhelming advice of his national security team in making his decision.

“In this case, I think the entire national security team had one view, and the president in a conversation with (Turkish) President Erdoğan just completely reversed the policy,” McGurk said.

“You know the president has said, I think he’s right, you never telegraph a punch when you’re in a military campaign,” he added. “You also don’t telegraph your retreat.”

McGurk said it would put U.S. forces under additional pressure if they are required to manage a withdrawal and finding a new partner to manage the campaign against ISIS in Syria simultaneously. He expressed skepticism that a country like Turkey would be able to fill that role.

“It takes American leadership and it takes American presence, and we just told the world we’re no longer going to be present,” he said.

Vice President Pence reiterated on “Face the Nation” that the “ISIS state has been defeated.” He made similar comments last Thursday, hours after the terrorist group claimed responsibility for an attack in Syria that killed U.S. troops.

Trump tweeted on Dec. 19 that the U.S. had “defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there.” He posted a video the same day in which he said troops in the war-torn country are “all coming back and they’re coming back now.”

The president and administration officials have since tempered their language surrounding the withdrawal from Syria. National security adviser John Bolton earlier this month said the U.S. would not fully leave the country without the total defeat of ISIS and assurances from Turkey that it will not target U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters in Syria.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last week the U.S. mission in the region is the same, and that the troop withdrawal is a “tactical change.”


Tags Donald Trump ISIS Mike Pompeo
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