'There's no plan' in Syria, says former Syria special envoy McGurk

by The Region   Reuters  


Former Syria Special Presidential Envoy Brett McGurk tells CBS there's "no plan" for "what's next" after President Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops and unpacks his decision to break with the Trump administration and resign. Gavino Garay reports.

"Leadership, American leadership really counts. Leadership built this coalition, it led to these gains against ISIS, and leadership requires some presence on the ground, and also consistency, " McGurk said.

The former top U.S. official in the coalition against ISIS broke his silence Sunday over the Trump Administration's abrupt decision in December to pull all U.S. Troops from Syria.

"I know what it takes in these coalition capitals for them to put their blood and treasure on the line with us. It takes American leadership and it takes an American presence. And we've just told the world that we're no longer going to be present. So it will have a dramatic ramification."

In his first televised interview since his resignation, State Department diplomat Brett McGurk told CBS Face the Nation that a withdrawal could create a power vacuum in Syria for other forces to come in where the U.S. is absent.

McGurk quit over the planned pullout. As did U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

"Announcing you're going to withdraw, and without a plan, and believe me -- there's no plan for what's coming next -- it increases the vulnerability of our force... It is increasing our risk to the people on the ground in Syria, and it will open up space for ISIS," the former envoy said.

Last week, four Americans were killed northern Syria, in an attack likely carried out by Islamic State, U.S. government sources have said.

It was the deadliest attack on U.S. forces in Syria since they deployed on the ground there in 2015.

In December, Trump announced that Washington would swiftly withdraw the roughly 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria and said Islamic State has been "defeated."

He has since said the withdrawal does not need to go quickly as he tries to ensure the safety of Kurdish allies in northern Syria who are at risk of attack from neighbouring Turkey.