Pentagon rejects US plan to leave Syria as 'rumors'
"I heard rumors of people talking about withdraw and I know the president said very soon because we have been very successful with defeating ISIS [Daesh] but it is not over and we are committed to ensuring the defeat of ISIS [Daesh]," Pentagon spokesperson Dana White told reporters at a press briefing.
Last week, President Donald Trump said his country would be leaving Syria "very soon" since Daesh had been defeated, arguing that U.S. spending in the Middle East was futile and it detracted from domestic spending.
Nearly a week after Trump's announcement, the U.S. media cited comments from Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats about a decision being made on the U.S.' Syria presence during a White House meeting Tuesday.
Shortly before the meeting, Trump signaled that countries that want the U.S. to remain in Syria may have to pay for the continued military presence, singling out Saudi Arabia.
Saudi officials have indicated they want the U.S. to stay, Trump said, adding he has told them they may have to foot the bill for the continued operations.
When asked whether the contradiction between the Pentagon and the White house over U.S. presence in Syria had been caused by a miscommunication, Pentagon spokesperson emphasized the importance of fighting against remaining Daesh militants.
"We continue to be focused on the defeat of ISIS and ISIS remains to be a transnational threat," she added.
Trump railed against U.S. spending in the region, claiming Washington has gotten "nothing out of" the $7 trillion it spent.
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