Avi Gabbay to Trump: Don't leave Syria

Zionist Union leader tells US President that his intention to pull American troops out of Syria will only help Assad commit more atrocities.

Tzvi Lev ,

Avi Gabbay
Avi Gabbay
Yonatan Zindel/Flash90

Zionist Union leader Avi Gabbay called on US President Trump to walk back his plans to pull American troops of Syria, saying that leaving the war-stricken country would embolden Syrian President Bashar Assad to commit more humanitarian atrocities.

Gabbay's statement comes after Syrian troops attacked the city of Douma with chemical weapons on Saturday, leaving more than 150 civilians dead.

"It is painful and horrifying to see the pictures today from Syria," said Gabbay in a statement. "Assad, the leader of Syria, is attacking his own people, and his country’s children."

"I call upon the US Administration and President Trump, not to remove American forces from Syria," continued Gabbay. "The opposite – it is incumbent upon the US Administration to deepen its involvement in the region, in order to stop the horrors occurring in Syria. The American presence has a dramatic role in ensuring stability in the region and the US should be an active player in keeping this stability in the Middle East in general and specifically in Syria."

"The departure of the good guys allows the bad guys to strengthen. More than this, the American departure from Syria hurts the security interests of Israel in Syria and the region."

Last week, Trump announced that the U.S. would be out of Syria "very soon" in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS).

"We're knocking the hell out of ISIS. We'll be coming out of Syria, like, very soon," he said in an Ohio speech focused on infrastructure, according to The Hill.

"Let the other people take care of it now. Very soon. Very soon, we're coming out. We're going to have a hundred percent of the caliphate, as they call it. Sometimes referred to as land, taking it all back. Quickly, quickly," he added.

The surprise announcement alarmed Israel's security establishment, who predict that Iran will take over Syria if the United States pulls out of the region.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said on Sunday that Trump had not consulted Israel before making the decision to leave Syria. "President Trump didn’t ask me," Liberman told Army Radio. "I very much appreciate the United States; it is our only and main strategic partner but we also understand that the US has its own considerations.”