Trump seeks Syria pullout as advisers warn on Islamic State

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he wanted to “get out” of Syria and promised decisions soon, even as his advisers warned of the hard work ahead to defeat Islamic State and stabilize areas recaptured from the militant group.

A U.S. fighter stands near a military vehicle, north of Raqqa city, Syria November 6, 2016. REUTERS/Rodi Said

Trump’s remarks suggested he believed that the U.S. military-backed campaign against Islamic State in Syria was close to being complete. The Pentagon and State Department, however, have suggested a much longer-term effort is necessary.

“It’s time,” Trump told reporters.

“We were very successful against (Islamic State). We’ll be successful against anybody militarily. But sometimes it’s time to come back home, and we’re thinking about that very seriously.”

The United States has about 2,000 forces in Syria who are battling the group.

U.S. Army General Joseph Votel, who oversees U.S. troops in the Middle East as the head of Central Command, estimated on Tuesday that more than 90 percent of the group’s territory in Syria had been taken back from the militants.

Trump estimated the percentage of territory recaptured in Iraq and Syria at “almost 100 percent,” and, in a sign of his complicated views on the campaign, also said: “We will not rest until ISIS is gone.”

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a joint news conference with Latvia’s President Raimonds Vejonis, Estonia’s…

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