Don't want to be 'policeman of the Middle East': Donald Trump

Updated: Dec 21, 2018, 10:28 IST | Agencies | Washington

US forces' aim was to destroy the IS and not to resolve civil war, White House said

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

The United States does not want to be the "Policeman" of the Middle East, US President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday, as he defended his controversial decision to pull US forces out of Syria. "Does the USA want to be the Policeman of the Middle East, getting NOTHING but spending precious lives and trillions of dollars protecting others who, in almost all cases, do not appreciate what we are doing? Do we want to be there forever?

Time for others to finally fight," he said, adding, "Russia, Iran, Syria and many others are not happy about the US leaving, despite what the Fake News says, because now they will have to fight ISIS and others, who they hate, without us."

"I am building by far the most powerful military in the world. ISIS hits us they are doomed!" said the US president and faced intense opposition for the statement that Islamic State had been defeated in the region, and that he was ordering the 2,000 US troops in Syria to exit.

"Getting out of Syria was no surprise," Trump wrote in an earlier tweet. "I've been campaigning on it for years, and six months ago, when I very publicly wanted to do it, I agreed to stay longer. "Russia, Iran, Syria & others are the local enemy of ISIS. We were doing their work. Time to come home and rebuild. #MAGA".

The US withdrawal could have major geopolitical ramifications, and plunges into uncertainty the fate of US-backed Kurdish fighters who have been tackling Islamic State jihadists, thousands of whom are thought to remain in Syria.

Putin hails decision
Russian President Vladimir Putin has welcomed the US decision, as he reaffirmed the long-held Russian argument that the US presence in Syria is illegitimate because it hasn't been vetted by the UN Security Council or approved by Syrian President Bashar Assad's government. "The US has done the right thing," he said. Russia is a key ally of Assad, and its military intervention in 2015 turned the war's tide in his favour.

More to do against IS: UK
Britain has insisted "much remains to be done" in fighting the Islamic State group in Syria, amid reports that it was not given prior warning of President Trump's decision to pull out US ground troops. "The global coalition against Daesh has made huge progress," said a government statement, referring to the jihadists. "Since military operations began, the coalition and its partners in Syria and Iraq have recaptured the vast majority of Daesh territory and important advances have been made in recent days in the last area of eastern Syria which Daesh has occupied. But much remains to be done and we must not lose sight of the threat they pose," it added, enforcing "commitment to the global coalition."

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