The US is not reversing course in Syria, President Donald Trump has said as he defended his decision to keep a small number of troops in the war-torn country after the withdrawal of American forces. Trump agreed on Thursday to keep about 200 US troops as part of the planned multinational force that would maintain a safe zone in north-eastern Syria, the official said. This force would be in addition to the 200 troops the US is planning to maintain after the withdrawal at its base in at-Tanf, Syria, the official said. "I'm not reversing course," Trump told reporters responding to a question on his decision on keeping some 200 US troops in Syria as against his previous decision on full withdrawal of more than 2,500 troops.
"I have done something that nobody else has been able to do. In another short period of time, like hours, you'll be hearing about the caliphate. It'll 100 per cent defeated. Nobody's been able to say that," Trump said.
"That doesn't mean there aren't some very bad people walking around and strapping on bombs and all of these things. But we've done a job that nobody else has been able to do," he said.
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Earlier, Donald Trump surprised the world and his country as well when he suddenly announced that the US is pulling out its troops from Syria. "In Syria, Erdogan said he wants to knock out ISIS, whatever's left, the remnants of ISIS. And Saudi Arabia just came out and said they are going to pay for some economic development. Which is great, that means we don't have to pay. We are spread out all over the world. We are in countries most people haven't even heard about. Frankly, it's ridiculous," Trump added.
Trump's sudden decision sparked turmoil in his administration, prompting the resignation of Defence Secretary Jim Mattis, as well as of Brett McGurk, the special envoy to the anti-ISIS coalition.
The US initially planned to only provide air support -- not ground troops -- to the observer force, but NATO allies objected and said they would not contribute troops toward such a mission without a US troop commitment, the official said.