The former US special envoy for the anti-Daesh forces in Syria claimed that pulling American troops out of Syria could have devastating consequences as “there is no plan” for what comes next once the forces are gone.
Brett McGurk, the former special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter Daesh, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that there is no concrete withdrawal plan.
“Announcing you’re going to withdraw and without a plan — and believe me there’s no plan for what’s coming next. Right now we do not have a plan,“ he said.
“It increases the vulnerability of our force, it increases the risk on the ground in Syria,” he added, suggesting that the US President Donald Trump went against the overwhelming advice of his national security team in making his decision.
“In this case, I think the entire national security team had one view, and the president in a conversation with (Turkish) President Erdoğan just completely reversed the policy,” McGurk said.
McGurk, who submitted his resignation shortly after President Trump announced last month that he was pulling US troops out of Syria, argued that the absence of American forces will create a void in leadership and lead to openings for Daesh to rebound. He rejected the idea that Turkey would be able to replace the role of the US.
“It takes American leadership and it takes American presence, and we just told the world we’re no longer going to be present,” he said.
Vice President Pence, during the same program, stated that Daesh “has been defeated”, echoing Trump’s tweet on 19 December, where he announced that the US had “defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there.”
National Security Adviser John Bolton earlier this month indicated that the US would not fully leave the country without both the total defeat of Daesh and assurances from Turkey that it will not target US-backed Kurdish fighters in Syria.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also said that the US is remaining in the region with the same mission it has always had and that the troop withdrawal is a “tactical change.”