UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY) – US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the United States and its allies would not want to pull their troops out of Syria before diplomats could win the peace.
“The United States and its allies are on the verge of a historic victory for an encouraging organization … they do not want to leave Syria alone while they are still at war,” Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon.
“We do not want to just pull out before the diplomats win the peace. You win the battle and then win peace.”
Matisse said he was due to meet later with UN envoy on Syria Stephane de Mistura “to see where the Geneva process is and what we can do to help.”
The statement is one of the strongest signals so far that full US withdrawal is unlikely at any time.
President Donald Trump said last week that he “wants to withdraw US troops from Syria very soon,” but apparently changed that position by expressing his desire to leave “a strong and lasting footprint.”