US President Donald Trump indicated this weekend that some US troops in Syria would remain there “to protect Israel,” in an apparent shift from his earlier insistence on an absolute withdrawal.
In an interview with Margaret Brennan of CBS News, Trump was pressed to identify precisely how much of America’s force presence there would be coming home – and how quickly.
“We’re going to be there and we’re going to be staying. We have to protect Israel,” he replied. “We have to protect other things that we have. But we’re – yeah, they’ll be coming back in a matter of time.”
“Look, we’re protecting the world,” he added. “We’re spending more money than anybody’s ever spent in history, by a lot.”
Israeli officials expressed alarm in December at Trump’s surprise decision to pull all 2,000 US troops from the Syrian battlefield, where it sees Iranian presence growing ever closer to its northern border.
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