Washington – The Islamic State (ISIS) group has been “beaten” in Syria, US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday in announcing a stunning order to pull American ground forces from the war-ravaged nation.
The momentous decision to withdraw, which runs counter to long-established US policy for Syria and the region, blindsided lawmakers, the Pentagon and international allies alike.
“We’ve won against ISIS,” Trump said in a short video posted on Twitter.
“We’ve beaten them and we’ve beaten them badly. We’ve taken back the land. And now it’s time for our troops to come back home.”
A withdrawal could have extraordinary 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.
A US official told AFP that Trump’s decision was finalized on Tuesday.