US says Syria military mission coming to 'rapid end' but fails to mention withdrawal

US says Syria military mission coming to 'rapid end' but fails to mention withdrawal
The US has said its military mission to eradicate the Islamic State group in Syria is coming to a 'rapid end,' days after Trump said troops would return soon.
2 min read
04 April, 2018
The statement offered no timetable for a proposed withdrawal [Getty]
The United States has said its military mission to eradicate the Islamic State group in Syria is coming to a "rapid end," days after Trump said troops would return soon.

The White House made the announcement on Wednesday in a statement after a meeting between Trump and his national security team to discuss Syria.

"The military mission to eradicate ISIS in Syria is coming to a rapid end, with ISIS being almost completely destroyed," the statement said, using another name for the Islamic State group or IS.

"The United States and our partners remain committed to eliminating the small ISIS presence in Syria that our forces have not already eradicated," it added.

The statement offered no timetable for withdrawal.

The comments come days after US President Donald Trump shocked aides and allies by declaring that the roughly 2,000 troops helping combat IS would be coming home soon.

During a speech to reporters on Tuesday, Trump appeared to urge Saudi Arabia to foot the bill to keep US troops in Syria.

Saudi Arabia's crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is currently on a tour of the US, said last week that a troop pull-out would only benefit Riyadh's arch-rival Iran.

Estimates about the number of extremists remaining around the Syria-Iraq border range from a couple of hundred to the tens of thousands.

They are being fought by disparate groups of Kurdish and Syrian opposition fighters, with some US and coalition support.

Despite Trump's claims, there have been reports that the US military is planning to send more troops to Syria for the next step in the war against IS.

Other senior Republican and military officials have also warned against a hasty pull-out.

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