Syria exit will come back to haunt the US

With his decision to withdraw all US forces from Syria, President Donald Trump hands a huge New Year's gift to President Bashar al-Assad, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the Kremlin and Teheran.

He also guarantees the reversal of US military gains there and extinguishes any leverage Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his special envoy for Syria, Mr James Jeffrey, may have to drive a diplomatic settlement that meets the administration's own goals of keeping ISIS and Iran out.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 21, 2018, with the headline 'Syria exit will come back to haunt the US'. Print Edition | Subscribe