US President Donald Trump says he is not changing his decision about the withdrawal of American troops from Syria despite reports that 400 troops will stay in the war-stricken country.
In December, Trump ordered his commanders to execute a “full” and “rapid” withdrawal of American forces from Syria within 30 days, claiming that Daesh had been defeated there.
On Thursday, however, White House Press Secretary Sarah H. Sanders said that “a small peace keeping group of about 200 will remain in Syria for (a) period of time.”
A day after, a senior administration official said roughly 400 US troops will remain indefinitely in the country.
Speaking at the White House, Trump said Friday, “I am not reversing course,” calling the number of troops, who will stay in Syria, “a very small tiny fraction” of the 2,000 forces serving there.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the country.
Trump also said that drawing down American troops in South Korea was not on the table during his second summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un.
“No, it’s not. That is not one of the things on the table,” Trump said when asked if he would consider withdrawing some of the 28,500 troops from South Korea.
Trump had said that he would meet with Kim in Hanoi, Vietnam, on February 27 and 28.