France's Macron says he convinced Trump to stay in Syria long term

France's Macron says he convinced Trump to stay in Syria long term
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French President Emmanuel Macron said Sunday he has convinced President TrumpDonald TrumpFreedom Caucus member condemns GOP group pushing 'Anglo-Saxon political traditions' MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell's new free speech site to ban certain curse words Secret Facebook groups of special operations officers include racist comments, QAnon posts: report MORE to keep U.S. troops in Syria for the long term.

“Ten days ago, President Trump was saying ‘the United States should withdraw form Syria.’ We convinced him it was necessary to stay,” Macron said in an interview with French media, according to Reuters.

In addition, the French president said he persuaded Trump that the U.S. and its allies should only carry out missile strikes aimed at Syrian chemical weapons facilities. Macron said officials helped narrow the president's focus for potential strikes after he had "gotten a little carried away over tweets," Reuters reported.

The White House, however, pushed back on the reports. 

“The U.S. mission has not changed -- the President has been clear that he wants U.S. forces to come home as quickly as possible," press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. "We are determined to completely crush ISIS and create the conditions that will prevent its return. In addition we expect our regional allies and partners to take greater responsibility both militarily and financially for securing the region."


Trump authorized targeted missile strikes in Syria on Friday in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack on citizens in the Syrian town of Douma. During a televised address, Trump said France and the United Kingdom had joined in the strikes.

“America does not seek an indefinite presence in Syria,” he said. “It’s a troubled place. We will try to make it better. But it’s a troubled place.” 

Trump had warned Russia that "nice and new and 'smart' " missiles would be heading to Syria prior to his administration's announcement of the strikes.

The president had in recent weeks raised uncertainty over the future of the U.S.’s role in Syria moving forward. He said during an appearance in Ohio late last month that he planned to withdraw troops “very soon.”

Trump reiterated that stance again during a press conference with Baltic leaders earlier this month, adding that the U.S. could extend its military presence in Syria if other countries, including Saudi Arabia, pay for it.

Multiple military advisers and lawmakers pushed back on Trump's comments, with many warning that pulling troops out of Syria would be a mistake.

Updated: 9:11 p.m.