Trump: ‘We have to protect Israel,’ shifting again on Syria withdrawal

Trump claimed in an interview that “99 percent” of ISIS’ territory had been reclaimed.

By
February 3, 2019 16:08
1 minute read.
U.S. President Donald Trump (R) embraces Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

U.S. President Donald Trump (R) embraces Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after his remarks at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem May 23, 2017. (photo credit: JONATHAN ERNST / REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

WASHINGTON – 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.

They have been pushing the Trump administration to maintain a presence at al-Tanf in eastern Syria, which has served as an important base both in countering Islamic State fighters as well as Iranian influence.


Trump also revealed that he planned on keeping troops in Iraq for similar reasons.

“I want to be able to watch Iran,” he said. “Iran is a real problem.”

He claimed to Brennan that “99%” of ISIS’s territory had been conquered.

“When I took over, Syria was infested with ISIS. It was all over the place. And now you have very little ISIS, and you have the caliphate almost knocked out,” he said. “We will be announcing in the not too distant future 100% of the caliphate, which is the area – the land – the area – 100. We’re at 99% right now. We’ll be at 100.”

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Russian S-400 missile air defence systems on display during a parade marking the 73rd anniversary of
February 17, 2019
Turkey promises to buy S-400, despite potential U.S. defense system deal

By SETH J. FRANTZMAN