United States President Donald Trump on Thursday said that the US would “be coming out of Syria very soon”, the media reported.
At an event in Ohio, Trump said America has wasted USD 7 trillion in wars in the Middle East adding that, “We’re knocking the hell out of IS (Islamic State). We’ll be coming out of Syria like very soon. Let the other people take care of it now.”
At the same time, he said the US was using all its resources to defeat ISIS and drive them out of the captured territory.
“Very soon we’re coming out. We’re going to have 100 per cent of the caliphate, as they call it — sometimes referred to as “land” — taking it all back quickly, quickly. But we’re going to be coming out of there real soon. Going to get back to our country, where we belong, where we want to be,” he said.
“We spent USD 7 trillion in the Middle East. We’d build a school, they’d blow it up. We’d build it again, they’d blow it up. We’d build it again — hasn’t been blown up yet, but it will be. But, if we want a school in Ohio to fix the windows, you can’t get the money. If you want a school in Pennsylvania or Iowa to get federal money, you can’t get the money,” he said and added, “We spent USD 7 trillion in the Middle East. What we have for it? Nothing. Remember I used to say ‘keep the oil’ as a civilian. We never kept the oil. If we kept the oil, we would have been OK. If we kept the oil, we wouldn’t have ISIS. Because you know who kept a lot of the oil? ISIS. That’s how they funded themselves. They kept the oil. We didn’t keep the oil.”
As a result, Trump said, the US has little money for its infrastructure.
A US defence official told CNN that it was unclear what the President meant by the comments.
Trump’s remarks on pulling out of Syria were made just hours after Chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana White told reporters that “important work remains to guarantee the lasting defeat of these violent extremists” in the country.
Despite Trump’s focus on the terror group’s dwindling control of territory, White said the military was focused on more than just IS-controlled areas, saying “our commitment to win must outlast the so-called physical caliphate, and the warped ideas that guide the calculated cruelty of IS”.
“We must not relent on IS or permit these terrorists to recover from their battlefield loses,” she said, noting that the group still poses a threat.
The official also pointed to several challenges, including figuring out what to do with the some 400 foreign IS fighters currently being held by the Washington-backed Syrian Democratic Forces as one example of the obstacles to a US withdrawal, CNN reported.
(With inputs from agencies)