President Donald Trump on Friday said the US troops would withdraw from Syria 'very soon' as he lamented that America has wasted $7 trillion in wars in the Middle East.
At the same time, he said the US was using all its resources to defeat ISIS and drive them out of the captured territory. We're knocking the hell out of ISIS. We'll be coming out of Syria, like, very soon. Let the other people take of it now, Trump said in Ohio where he had gone to deliver a speech on infrastructure.
"Very soon we're coming out. We're going to have 100 per cent of the caliphate, as they call it -- sometimes referred to as "land" -- taking it all back quickly, quickly. But we're going to be coming out of there real soon. Going to get back to our country, where we belong, where we want to be," he said.
Trump, in his remarks, lamented that US has wasted USD 7 trillion in wars in the Middle East.
"We spent $7 trillion in the Middle East. We'd build a school, they'd blow it up. We'd build it again, they'd blow it up. We'd build it again -- hasn't been blown up yet, but it will be. But, if we want a school in Ohio to fix the windows, you can't get the money. If you want a school in Pennsylvania or Iowa to get federal money, you can't get the money," he said. We spent $7 trillion in the Middle East. What we have for it? Nothing. Remember I used to say 'keep the oil' as a civilian. We never kept the oil. If we kept the oil, we would have been OK. If we kept the oil, we wouldn't have ISIS. Because you know who kept a lot of the oil? ISIS. That's how they funded themselves. They kept the oil. We didn't keep the oil. Stupid, stupid, he said.
As a result, Trump said, the US has little money for its infrastructure.
"We have to fight for our military. But we're becoming so strong again. And you watch -- not going to take very long. I've asked Republicans and Democrats in Congress to come together and deliver the biggest and boldest infrastructure plan in the last half-century. I don't think you're going to get Democrat support very much. And you'll probably have to wait until after the election, which isn't so long down the road," he said.
Earlier in the day, Defense Department Spokesperson Dana White said while the coalition has significantly degraded ISIS, the important work remains to guarantee the lasting defeat of the extremists.
"Our commitment to win must outlast the so-called physical caliphate, and the warped ideas that guide the calculated cruelty of ISIS," she said.
This is a group that plots and launches terror attacks globally, White said, adding that they have no regard for anything decent or valuable in life.
"As long as they exist and bring death and destruction around the world, we will continue to degrade, destroy and ultimately defeat ISIS," she said.
We cannot allow our focus to deviate from the most important task of eliminating ISIS from the region. The ISIS terrorist network is more fragile than it was one year ago, but it still presents a capable and committed threat. ISIS is taking full advantage of any opportunity to regain momentum. We must not relent on ISIS or permit these terrorists to recover from their battlefield loses," White said.
Noting that the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)have repeatedly shown that they are a capable force on the ground to defeat ISIS, she said the US will continue to support the SDF in their fight against the extremists.
At a separate press conference, the US State Department alleged that Russia was not doing anything to help in Syria.
"Russia is the huge part of the problem for the tens of thousands of innocent civilians who have been killed and are still being killed each and every day as we look at the video that's coming out of Eastern Ghouta. Russia is responsible for that," State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said.
"Russia is directly responsible for propping up Bashar-al-Assad, who has been killing his own people for far, far too long -- Iran also responsible. We don't anticipate that Russia is going to -- based on their actions -- to help right now," she said.