A senior US State Department official declared Friday that the US “do not intend to have an indefinite military presence in Syria,” but also confirmed that there is no definite timeline for actually leaving.
This is roughly in line with what other US officials have said over the course of the past week, with some reports of a four month timetable being quickly disavowed by President Trump. Trump has made clear he very explicitly never set any timeline for the process.
Which realistically leaves the US roughly where they were before Trump announced the pullout in the first place, with an effectively open-ended deployment in Syria fighting a shrinking ISIS presence.
While the administration seems keen to keep all the specifics of what they’re doing out of public view, despite polls showing a narrow majority supporting the US withdrawal from Syria, officials so far haven’t even addressed the big questions this ever-slowing process is raising.
In particular, the not-indefinite US presence in Syria very much looks to interfere with Turkey’s planned invasion of eastern Syria, which was originally supposed to be on hold pending US-Turkey coordination of the pullout. There has been no indication in recent days that such coordination is even considered anymore.
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