A senior Pentagon official told TV7 that while the United States intends to pull-out all American ground-forces from Syria, “the decision was made in line with a broader U.S. strategy that keeps in mind three factors: the prevention of a resurgence by the Islamic State, the protection of U.S. allies and partners in the region, and the preservation of U.S. interests across the Middle East and beyond.” While the official did not elaborate on Washington’s plans after the military withdrawal from Syria, he insisted that the American pull-out would not challenge Washington’s activities against the Islamic Republic. The official, who requested to remain anonymous as he was not permitted to speak on the matter, pointed to the fact that U.S. Special Forces will maintain a presence in Iraq.
The comments by the Pentagon official did not provide additional information beyond a statement made by U.S. President Donald Trump last month, when the American leader visited U.S. troops stationed in Iraq on the second day of Christmas, December 26th, 2018. During his visit, Trump underscored that while U.S. forces would withdraw from Syria, Washington does not plan on turning its back to the chaotic region. According to the U.S. President, “There will be a strong deliberate and orderly withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria… very deliberate, very orderly …While maintaining the U.S. presence in Iraq to prevent an ISIS resurgence and to protect U.S. interests. And also to always watch very closely over any potential reformation of ISIS. And also, to watch over Iran, we will be watching.”