US troops not leaving Syria until goals accomplished, says envoy Nikki Haley

VIDEO: REUTERS
US soldiers in the YPG-held Syrian city of Manbij, where the US military has a presence, on March 22, 2018.
US soldiers in the YPG-held Syrian city of Manbij, where the US military has a presence, on March 22, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Sunday (April 15) that the United States would not pull its troops out of Syria until its goals were accomplished.

Speaking on Fox News, Haley listed three aims for the United States: ensuring that chemical weapons are not used in any way that pose a risk to US interests, that Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is defeated and that there is a good vantage point to watch what Iran is doing.

It is our goal "to see American troops come home, but we are not going to leave until we know we have accomplished those things," Haley said.

Trump, who on Friday joined France and Britain in ordering missile strikes against Syrian targets, has sent mixed signals on Syria.

He has made clear he wants to withdraw the roughly 2,000 US troops in Syria involved in the anti-ISIS campaign. But he appeared to contradict that message when he said on Saturday that Western allies were prepared to "sustain" the military response if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad does not stop using prohibited chemical weapons.

Asked about US-Russia relations, Haley said ties were "very strained" but that the United States still hoped for a better relationship.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov also said on Sunday that Moscow would make every effort to improve political relations with the West, TASS news agency reported.

Ryabkov also said Russia would study a UN resolution on Syria proposed by the United States, France and Britain, but added that it would be hard to reach a compromise on the issue, TASS reported.