But even as Trump heralded his move to pull nearly all U.S. troops out of what he derided as the “blood-stained sands” of Syria, he’s repeatedly referred to the country’s oil fields as prized land that he’s intent on protecting…
The Republican president’s comments this week raised fresh concerns that he has an incomplete understanding, or is indifferent to, the fragile dynamics of the region, his critics say.
“The President of the United States of America appears to be calling for a mass migration of Kurds to the desert where they can resettle atop a tiny oil field,” Brett McGurk, Trump’s former special envoy to the global coalition to defeat IS, wrote on Twitter.
But the idea of keeping troops in eastern Syria to guard the oil fields resonated with Trump and presented military commanders with a way to keep at least a residual force inside the country. Besides a presence near the oil fields in eastern Syria, some U.S. forces will remain in southern Syria.