U.S. President Donald Trump, flanked by Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, holds a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington..
(photo credit: REUTERS/JONATHAN ERNST)
The US military's plan to withdraw from Syria could take several months, US officials said according to a report by ABC News.
Despite previous claims that the troops could be pulled out within 30 days, the plan has no set timetable. Officials now say that, seeing as the plans were developed over the past week, withdrawal may be slower than originally anticipated.
During a surprise holiday visit to Iraq, Trump told US troops that "there will be a strong, deliberate and orderly withdrawal" from Syria. He explained that US forces will stay in Iraq so that no "ISIS resurgence" occurs as well as "to protect US interests and also to watch very closely over any potential reformation of ISIS and also to watch over Iran."
However, it is unclear if the air operations targeting ISIS will continue following the withdrawal. In addition, US troops in Iraq are there to assist local forces in their fight against ISIS, therefore making it problematic to claim they will be able to intervene in the case of an ISIS resurgence in Syria.