U.S. forces are gearing up to evacuate Syria in the coming months as fighters backed by the United States military prepare to finish off the last vestiges of the Islamic State.
The commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces announced this week that fighters had “cornered” what’s left of the one-time caliphate to a neighborhood near the Iraq border. President Trump said on Friday that the administration would soon have “great announcements” about the situation in Syria, and he went further on Saturday, calling on U.S. allies to put returning ISIS fighters on trial in their home countries.
“The United States is asking Britain, France, Germany and other European allies to take back over 800 ISIS fighters that we captured in Syria and put them on trial,” President Trump tweeted. “The Caliphate is ready to fall. The alternative is not a good one in that we will be forced to release them. The U.S. does not want to watch as these ISIS fighters permeate Europe, which is where they are expected to go. We do so much, and spend so much – Time for others to step up and do the job that they are so capable of doing. We are pulling back after 100% Caliphate victory!”
Trump announced two months ago that the U.S. would begin withdrawing special forces from Syria, a decision which was met with predictable push-back from the hawkish corners of the Republican Party. Trump agreed to slow the withdrawal to ensure the complete defeat of ISIS beforehand, but some fear that a U.S.-vacuum will allow the terrorist group to reclaim power in the region before long. To be fair, the aftermath of Obama’s decision to withdraw from Iraq does give them some very good reasons to believe this could happen.
On the other hand, Trump ran on a platform of getting U.S. forces out of these prolonged, neverending conflict situations in Syria and Afghanistan. And you can’t argue with results: Under his presidency, our military has been lethally effective in finally wiping ISIS off the map. That doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t return in a different form once we’re gone, but then again: We can’t police the entire world at all times.