"Starting the long overdue pullout from Syria while hitting the little remaining ISIS territorial caliphate...Will attack again from existing nearby base if [ISIS] reforms. Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds. Create 20 mile safe zone...."
This fragmented January 13 tweet by President Donald Trump suggests that he is trying the impossible: helping Turkey create its proposed "safe zone" in Syria without fighting Kurdish rebels along the border. But it's the most recent guidance the public has on America's policy in Syria.
Nicholas Heras, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, believes that "no decisions have been made on Syria yet." Instead, he suggests, the president is "leaking [the executive branch's] internal discussions" in order "to test the water of public opinion."
In the absence of congressional oversight, unelected bureaucrats have been privately feuding to determine how to carry out Trump's decision to pull all U.S. troops out of the country. And without clear signals from Washington, the Self-Administration of Northeast Syria—an unrecognized statelet carved out of former ISIS territory—is running out of time to negotiate for its future, writes Matthew Petti in his latest for Reason.
Photo Credit: Bureaucratic Fights in Washington Sow Chaos in Syria