US won’t pull out troops from Syria until goals accomplished – UN envoy Haley
The US will not pull its troops out of Syria until its goals are accomplished there, Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said. This comes after Washington carried out airstrikes in Syria in response to an alleged chemical attack.
US currently has over 2,000 troops in Syria and a number of contractors.
While it is America’s goals to see the troops come home, “we are not going to leave until we know we have accomplished those things,” she told Fox News Sunday.
Haley added that the US wants to ensure that chemical weapons are not used in a way that is of risk to US interests, Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) is defeated, and Iran’s actions are monitored.“Be very clear, if we leave, when we leave, it will be because we know that everything is moving forward,” Haley added.
Asked about US-Russia relations, she said they are “very strained,” but the US still hopes to mend ties. At the same time, the US envoy to the UN ruled out any bilateral contacts with the Syrian government, saying that Washington would not “have any one-on-one talks” with Damascus.
On Saturday Haley said that the US’ guns are “locked and loaded,” and that Washington will not hesitate to strike if a chemical attack in Syria takes place again.
US officials previously said their goal in Syria is just defeating ISIS. President Donald Trump said earlier that the US would withdraw from Syria “soon” and Washington would “let the other people take care of it now,” but no deadline has been announced.
Haley’s comments come just one day after the US, UK, and France carried out a massive missile strike on Syrian targets. Missiles fired from warships and jets hit a scientific facility in the vicinity of Damascus, which the coalition claimed was involved in the production of chemical and biological weapons, as well as a former missile base west of Homs and Al-Dumayr air base east of the Syrian capital.
Syrian air defense units were scrambled to repel the air invasion, intercepting 71 out of 103 of the missiles, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense. The Pentagon said Syria’s actions did not have any effect.
Washington and its allies said the srikes were carried out in retaliation to last week’s alleged chemical attack in Douma, a town near Damascus, but failed to present compelling evidence. Announcing the air invasion, the White House said it has a large body of “reliable intelligence,” as well as “social media users, non-governmental organizations, and other open-source outlets,” implicating the Syrian government in the chemical incident.
Notably, the bombing occurred just hours before the UN’s Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) experts were set to carry out an on-site inspection in Douma on Saturday to establish whether chemical weapons had been used there.
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