Iranian Defense Minister Disbelieves Trump’s Rhetoric on Withdrawal From Syria
Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami said on Thursday that he dismissed claims made by US President Donald Trump on swiftly withdrawing US troops from Syria as a hoax on the part of Washington.
“I was very surprised when I heard these words from Trump, because the Americans planned their military presence in Syria and sought [the country’s] division. When I heard it, I didn’t believe it and first asked myself: why do they make such announcements? But considering my knowledge and my experience, I think it is their new conspiracy,” the minister said on the sidelines of the seventh Moscow Conference on International Security (MCIS) in an interview with RT.
He added that reports, which followed the US president’s announcements, on the country’s top security officials advising him against the move show internal contradictions in the Trump administration.
Earlier on Thursday, the CNN, citing a source from US administration, said that incoming US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford have recommended that President Donald Trump should not immediately withdraw troops from Syria, as the move would go against national interests.
Last week, Trump said that the United States would leave Syria “very soon” and let other countries “take care of it.” The US Defense Department did not confirm these withdrawal plans.
According to the reports, Trump complained of the amount of money the United States spends on operations in Syria and Iraq without gaining anything in return, but the officials said that an immediate withdrawal would be a mistake, as it would allow Russia, Turkey and Iran to freely pursue their own interests in the region, something which runs counter to the US agenda.
The United States and its coalition of more than 70 members are waging military operations against the Islamic State (terror group, outlawed in Russia) in Syria and Iraq. The coalition’s strikes in Iraq are conducted in cooperation with Iraqi officials, but those in Syria are not authorized by the government of President Bashar Assad or the UN Security Council. Nearly 2,000 US troops are currently deployed in Syria.