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Syria forces launch assault on rebel-held Douma

Syria forces launch assault on rebel-held Douma

President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he wants to bring troops home to start rebuilding the U.S.

In his decision, Trump seems to be standing alone.

Trump's increasingly adamant position on a Syrian withdrawal is not new.

Trump's new position, which envisions a US withdrawal in months and suspends the modest reconstruction aid recently allocated by the State Department, abdicates responsibility for those challenges.

Pressed to explain, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump wants "to focus on transitioning to local enforcement", but he "is not going to (declare) an arbitrary timeline" on when US troops will be withdrawn.

Trump met last month with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the country's de facto leader.

This hubris about military force is our own worst enemy - the notion that if we can just think it through, get the number right, put USA forces in the middle, then we will stabilize regions, rebuild countries, and enforce stability.

"The subtext to all of this is the president's sense that the U.S. already has a lot of military commitments around the world, and it may have another one coming up where it might need all its air power and special forces and other assets now involved in Syria", Mr. Heras says. We have to see it through and handle the next stage, as Gen. Joseph Votel of U.S. Central Command put it: "stabilizing these areas, consolidating our gains, getting people back into their homes, addressing the long-term issues of reconstruction and other things that have to be done".

The ambassador's words seemed to directly challenge President Trump, who said earlier this week that it was time for United States troops to come home from Syria.

Jeff Kubiak, senior fellow at Arizona State University's Center on the Future of War, said top military brass are anxious about what pulling out of Syria might mean in terms of either giving Iran, Turkey, and Russian Federation an advantage or allowing the sort of power vacuum that would give rise to another insurgent group in the country.

The source added the Turkey-U.S. working group may be held in May.

What that means is that battle partners like the Syrian Kurds are about to be left on their own, analysts say, while allies from Saudi Arabia to Israel should prepare to do more for themselves in Syria, particularly about Iran's aggressive posture in the region. "It looks like those reigns have been loosed, and it looks like President Trump is speaking his mind more regularly, and unconstrained", said Kubiak, adding that regardless, the president "will have his way in some fashion".

The official said that Trump was focused on ISIS' territorial holdings, questioning why the recapture of ISIS' territory was proving elusive given that the military had made such rapid progress against ISIS in the first year of his administration. Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports US forces have been spotted setting up front-line positions outside the strategic northern town of Manbij, where USA -backed, Kurdish-led forces are facing off against Turkish-backed Syrian fighters.

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The three nations have been pushing their own diplomatic track for resolving Syria's civil war, even as the USA tries to rejuvenate United Nations-led talks.

"Looking to the long term, obviously entities in the region, nations in the region have to have as much interest in the problem in Syria as we do and probably more since they're the ones that are going to be most affected by it", he said.

Among the winners, count Iran, Russia, and the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad that both Iran and Russia support. A phone call Wednesday between Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu grew tense because of the Israeli leader's concerns that the US will withdraw and allow Israel's enemies to gain a further foothold in a neighboring country, two USA officials said.

The first working group was held on March 8, in which the main principles of potential cooperation of Turkey and the US was termed "constructive", the source, who spoke anonymously due to restrictions on talking to the media, said.

No NATO country lost more from a destabilized Syria than Turkey. But in recent briefings, he has repeatedly complained about not having a clear path to pull out of Syria once Islamic State - now mostly confined to several small pockets - is brought to heel. The Pentagon has warned that the distraction could give the militants the reprieve they need to regroup after four years of being pummeled. "Let the other people take care of it now", Trump said last week. "We are not going to accomplish anything with this tiny number of people", says Mr. Davis, who underscores that even the 140,000 U.S. troops who were in Afghanistan when he was deployed there did not lead to a Taliban defeat.

He stressed that Turkey's fight against the group would not distract from efforts to eliminate remnants of the Islamic State from the country.

About Turkey's eight observatory points in Syria's Idlib set up as part of Astana peace talks, the source said other guarantor countries - Russian Federation and Iran - had set up similar observation points at areas not as critical as Turkey's. Trump has told confidants that he believes Bolton "has his back" on the Syria matter.

"Everything I read says this is about money".

Despite his annoyance and public statement to the contrary, Trump agreed to hold off on immediately pulling troops from the war-plagued nation, even after airing his displeasure with top national security officials.

The U.S. presence, comparatively, is limited, but simply by maintaining a presence, the United States signals that it has Israel's back - freeing Israel to take action, as it did in February when Israel retaliated with airstrikes on Iranian targets in Syria after an Iranian drone entered Israeli airspace. The Saudi Embassy in Washington did not immediately comment.

Asked when the number of troops sent to the border would be known, Nielsen said she was going to "get on phone calls right now" to help determine those figures.

The message is that the USA really is pulling back from the Middle East and reorienting its focus to Asia - and particularly, in the coming months, to North Korea.

The policy tumult emerged as Turkey, a nominal US ally and member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, hosted a summit in Ankara with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to discuss the conflict in Syria.


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