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Brett McGurk: Trump’s Syria pull out gives ‘new life’ to ISIS



President Donald Trump’s mangled Syria pullout has breathed “new life” into ISIS, the very terror group Trump vowed to destroy before declaring it defeated, the former US official in charge of the ISIS fight said.

Brett McGurk, the former special presidential envoy in charge of the 79-nation coalition to fight ISIS, wrote a blistering op-ed in the Washington Post exposing the chaos at the Pentagon and among US allies after Trump’s snap decision to leave Syria.

McGurk, along with former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, resigned following Trump’s move. Since then, Trump has hit back at the former officials, calling McGurk a “grandstander,” and later claiming he had fired Mattis, rather than Mattis resigning.

But McGurk says that Trump totally surrendered the US’s role in Syria to Turkey after a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and that the decision wounded the US’s credibility and standing with its allies.

Read more: Trump’s own party slams his Syria ‘retreat’ after ISIS-claimed attack kills US troops

Trump’s declaration that US had finally defeated ISIS and the only reason for US forces in Syria was to fight the terror group directly contradicted statements from his own State Department, Pentagon, and national security advisor.

According to McGurk, Trump’s decision will expose the Syrian Democratic Forces — a group of 60,000 regioinal Kurds, Arabs, and Christians that have won hard-fought battles against ISIS on the ground, sometimes fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with US troops — will now be exposed to Turkey’s wrath, as they back opposing forces and veiw the Kurdish elements of the SDF as terrorists.

Read more:Trump outright ignored Pentagon, State Department Syria policy in a big win for Putin

“My counterparts in coalition capitals were bewildered. Our fighting partners in the SDF, whom I had visited regularly on the ground in Syria, expressed shock and then denial, hoping Trump would change his mind,” wrote McGurk.

“The president’s decision to leave Syria was made without deliberation, consultation with allies or Congress, assessment of risk, or appreciation of facts,” he continued, then concluding that he could not maintain his integrity while carrying out Trump’s order, prompting his resignation.

Read more:White House’s shock request for strike options on Iran suggests an extremely dangerous possibility

In conclusion, McGurk says that Trump has given ISIS and opponents of the US “new life” by pulling out of Syria in a move that will “precipitate chaos and an environment for extremists to thrive.”

Trump’s Syria pull out also coincided with the death of four US citizens at a restaurant in what was considered a safe part of Syria under US control. The ISIS-claimed attack doubled the US death toll in Syria, which had only claimed two lives since the campaign launched in 2015.

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