Trump: Syria Is ‘Sand and Death,’ We’re Getting Out

Says no timetable has been set yet

In comments surrounding a cabinet meeting Wednesday, President Trump reiterated his stance on withdrawing from Syria, saying the country was lost a long time ago, and the US is getting out. He added that Syria doesn’t have “vast wealth,” only “sand and death.”

Trump went on to say that he has not set any official timetable for the US withdrawal, and that the times being talked about elsewhere didn’t come from him. This started weeks ago with talk of a 30 day drawdown, and has since been in the four month range.

CNN claimed that the four month figure came from the Pentagon, with an unnamed official saying it was the military “trying to please the President and not get everyone killed.” He added that the Pentagon should keep troops in Syria even longer.

This of course, is all in keeping with the narrative among the Pentagon brass, most of whom never wanted to leave Syria at all. The idea that it would take four months minimum to remove 2,000 troops from eastern Syria, however, does not make a lot of sense.

After all, while Syria isn’t exactly awash in infrastructure, the US has spent the last couple of years setting up small airfields, and its troops in Syria are generally not far from these, nor from the borders of friendly countries like Iraq and Jordan.

Though exact troop locations aren’t publicly available, all indications are that US troops embedded in the Kurdish YPG’s territory are in places specifically chosen so they wouldn’t get “stuck” there, and the idea that they physically can’t get out for months without everyone dying is an invention long after the fact to try to keep the war going.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.