With the stock market down, the Mueller investigation cooking and Chief of Staff problems, Donald Trump could use some good news. This morning, he announced a very positive development, “We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.”
The only problem with the announcement, is that thousands of ISIS fighters still remain in Syria and Iraq. The most recent estimates from the UN show the number at between 20,000 and 30,000.
Not only do the ISIS troops remain in Syria, they are quite active as well. Today, “The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that Islamic State militants had executed nearly 700 prisoners in nearly two months in eastern Syria.” This announcement came mere moments before Trump posted his announcement on Twitter.
Journalist Julien Ropcke also disputes the report, posting battle reports against ISIS from 9 hours prior to Trump’s tweet.
— Julian Röpcke (@JulianRoepcke) December 19, 2018
Trump is thought to be using the pronouncement of victory as a means to remove US troops from the region. He has long considered operations in Syria to be pointless and expensive.
This move could hurt relations with allies as The Washington Post reports, “U.S. troops, working alongside Syrian partner forces, have struggled to eradicate remaining pockets of militants in central Syria. An abrupt American withdrawal would raise questions about whether the militants would be more easily able to regain strength.”
ISIS, though damaged, still has an active and dangerous presence in Syria. While an official declaration on the removal of troops has yet to be made, one is expected soon.
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Todd Neikirk is a New Jersey based politics and technology writer. His work has been featured in psfk.com, foxsports.com and Pet Lifestyles Magazine. He enjoys sports, politics, technology and spending time at the shore with his family.