President Donald Trump has begun withdrawing U.S. forces from Syria, the White House announced Wednesday, declaring victory over Islamic State fighters in the country despite ongoing skirmishes and concerns from others in Washington that the terrorist group might mount a comeback.
“Five years ago, ISIS was a very powerful and dangerous force in the Middle East, and now the United States has defeated the territorial caliphate,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. “We have started returning troops home as we transition to the next phase of this campaign.”
In a conference call with reporters Wednesday afternoon, a senior administration official said the Pentagon would work out the logistics of the drawdown. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, referred questions to the Pentagon about the next stages of the counter-ISIS campaign and whether the United States would continue to provide air power against the terrorist group or support to its partner forces in Syria.