Country Risk

Tillerson outlines open-ended US military presence in Syria

21 January 2018

The US military will remain in Syria for as long as the Islamic State remains a threat, according to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

“Let us be clear: the United States will maintain a military presence in Syria focused on ensuring that ISIS [the Islamic State] cannot re-emerge,” he said in a speech at the Hoover Institution on 17 January. “We cannot make the same mistakes that were made in 2011 when a premature departure from Iraq allowed Al-Qaeda in Iraq to survive and eventually morph into ISIS.”

He also outlined four other objectives the United States is looking to achieve in Syria: ending the war with a political settlement that includes President Bashar al-Assad standing down, diminishing Iranian influence, the return of refugees and internally displaced persons, and removing all weapons of mass destruction.

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