After teasing that the U.S. would be withdrawing from the war in Syria, President Donald Trump has reluctantly agreed to keep American troops in the war-torn nation a little while longer, NBC News reported Wednesday, citing a senior administration official.
"He wasn't thrilled about it, to say the least," the official said.
Defense Secretary James Mattis and other top officials made the case to Trump that the fight against ISIS was almost finished but a complete withdrawal of American forces at this time would risk losing gains the U.S. has made in the ISIS fight, the official said, according to NBC.
Meanwhile, Trump has instructed military leaders to get ready for a withdrawal but supplied no further details or timetable for the imminent removal of U.S. forces.
The White House issued a statement on Syria later Wednesday morning:
The military mission to eradicate ISIS in Syria is coming to a rapid end, with ISIS being almost completely destroyed. The United States and our partners remain committed to eliminating the small ISIS presence in Syria that our forces have not already eradicated. We will continue to consult with our allies and friends regarding future plans. We expect countries in the region and beyond, plus the United Nations, to work toward peace and ensure that ISIS never re-emerges.
Earlier Wednesday, the top U.S. intelligence chief said that the White House would release its decision on the future of American troops in Syria "relatively soon."
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said the decision on what to do in Syria came Tuesday during a meeting of the National Security Council.