The United States has no timeline for the withdrawal of American troops from Syria but does not plan to stay indefinitely, a senior State Department official said on Friday, according to Reuters.
“We have no timeline for our military forces to withdraw from Syria,” the official said ahead of a visit to the Middle East next week by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
“Just to clarify, we do not — we do not intend to have an indefinite military presence in Syria. The president has made the decision that we will withdraw and we are formulating the plans to do that right now,” said the official, who briefed reporters on Pompeo’s trip.
The State Department announced earlier on Friday that Pompeo will travel to eight Middle East capitals next week for talks on security expected to focus on Yemen, Syria and Iran.
Pompeo leaves on January 8 on the eight-day trip to Amman, Cairo, Manama, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Riyadh, Muscat, and Kuwait City.
On his second stop in Cairo he will deliver a speech on the US "commitment to peace, prosperity, stability, and security in the Middle East," the department said.
News of Pompeo’s visit comes after President Donald Trump's surprise announcement that the US would withdraw its troops from Syria.
Trump’s original order gave the military 30 days to pull out of Syria, but earlier this week officials said he had agreed to spread the withdrawal of the military from Syria over a period of about four months.
Trump’s move has been met with criticism from some Republican lawmakers and was followed by the resignation of Defense Secretary Mattis and of Brett McGurk, Trump’s special envoy for the global coalition to counter ISIS.
Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria, according to some reports, was made hastily, without consulting his national security team or allies, and over strong objections from virtually everyone involved in the fight against ISIS.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)