We don't know when this is going to happen, but it appears to be official that Trump has ordered the military to make preparations for withdrawing from Syria.
From the Washington Post:
In a meeting with top national security officials Tuesday, Trump stressed that U.S. troops can be involved in current training tasks for local forces to ensure security in areas liberated from the Islamic State, the official said.
But the president said that the U.S. mission would not extend beyond the destruction of the Islamic State, and that he expects other countries, particularly wealthy Arab states in the region, to pick up the task of paying for ongoing stabilization and reconstruction, including sending their own troops, if necessary.
Reuters has corroborated the Post's report. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats reportedly said Trump made the decision during yesterday's meeting.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. intelligence chief said on Wednesday that a decision had been made on the future of American troops in war-torn Syria and the White House would make it public soon.
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said the decision was reached at an “all hands on deck” National Security Council meeting on Tuesday.
I am not someone who believes we should remain in Syria or any other country forever, but no one is calling for that. That is not what's at stake here.
You may recall that American-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a predominately Kurdish force, were attacked by Russians earlier this year. The Russians were apparently annihilated thanks to superior American firepower, but American support may not be available in the future and the Russians aren't the only game in town. Russia, Turkey, Iran, and Assad all oppose the Kurds for their own reasons even though Kurdish forces carried out most of the fighting against ISIS while the major powers sat and watched.
If we withdraw our support for them, nothing will stop the next regional war that could be even worse than the last one. It seems evident that the presence of American forces, even in relatively small numbers, is the only thing preventing current conflicts from widening and exploding out of control.
I sincerely hope that American commanders on the ground take advantage of every resource at their disposal to prepare the SDF for what's coming because if Trump orders them to leave they won't be coming back.
I can't even imagine how difficult it must be for American commanders to look at their local counterparts in the face and tell them they're going to leave them at the mercy of Putin, Assad, and Erdogan.