The “endless war” in Syria President Trump refers to, won’t be coming to an end anytime soon, as his top military adviser confirms the plan is to leave more than 500 troops in Syria.
The new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff contradicted Trump’s claim that ISIS has been 100 percent defeated, and he instead said the US must maintain a presence in Syria to prevent the group from re-emerging.
He said that when it comes to the number of US troops in the country, “There will be less than 1,000 for sure. And probably in the 500-ish frame. Maybe 600. But it’s in that area. But we’re not going to go into specific numbers because we’re still going through the analysis right now.”
However, he did not address the plan to keep troops in Syria for the purpose of guarding oilfields from ISIS, or Trump’s plan to seize that oil without the consent of the Syrian government.
In an exclusive interview with RT, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad argued that the goal of the US has always been to seize oil from his country—but he said it was previously done covertly with the help of Turkey and ISIS.
“Since ISIS started smuggling Syrian oil and looting Syrian oil in 2014, they had two partners—Erdogan and his coterie, and the Americans, whether the CIA or others—so what Trump did is just announced the truth,” Assad said.
Assad argued that the US started a conflict in Syria because it realized the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could not be won. He pointed to the Obama administration’s strategy of arming “moderate rebels” to overthrow the Syrian government, and he argued that this directly resulted in the rise of ISIS.
“How did ISIS rise all of a sudden in 2014?! Out of nowhere! Out of nothing! In Iraq and Syria at the same time, with American armaments?! It’s very clear,” he said.
As for the question of why the US would be able to get away with starting wars across the Middle East, Assad argued there is no international body that will hold Washington accountable for its actions.
And in response to repeated claims that the Syrian government is guilty of launching chemical attacks against its own people, Assad questioned why an investigation has yet to find his government guilty, and why the Syrian people would stand by a government that intentionally kills its own people.
Meanwhile, tensions are still high in northern Syria where Turkey launched a military offensive against the Kurds last month. Turkish President Erdogan is expected to travel to Washington to meet with President Trump this week, following threats from the US that Turkey could face sanctions if it does not pull back in Syria. But Assad argued that Erdogan’s agenda is not all that different from the US agenda.
“Erdogan has his own agenda, which is two parts. His own agenda with the Muslim Brotherhood, and then the American agenda as a puppet. So it’s two parts, but they work in tandem,” Assad said.
While President Trump has repeatedly said the goal is to “end the endless wars” in the Middle East, the latest plan to leave hundreds of troops in Syria has raised questions about whether any of those wars will come to an end while Trump is still in office.