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Syrian civilians wait near destroyed buildings to evacuate Arbin town of Eastern Ghouta. Photo: Dia Al-Din Samout / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

President Trump, the Pentagon, and the State Department made conflicting statements about U.S. involvement in Syria on Thursday. While Trump said the U.S. would pull out of Syria "very soon," other administration officials have emphasized a longer-term fight to prevent an ISIS resurgence

The bigger picture: The U.S. is one of several actors in the Syrian conflict, including Russia, Iran, ISIS, Turkey, and more, and the conflict has become deadlier and more complex in recent months.

  • President Trump: "We'll be coming out of Syria like, very soon. Let the other people take care of it now. Very soon, very soon we're coming out."
  • Pentagon: "Important work remains to ensure the lasting defeat these violent extremists....We cannot allow our focus to deviate from the most important task of eliminating ISIS from the region...We will continue to support the SDF."
  • State Department: Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said she is unaware of any plans to pull the U.S. out of Syria. Former Secretary Rex Tillerson said at the beginning of the year that the U.S. should have a long-term military presence in the region.

Go deeper

13 mins ago - World

U.N. envoy resumes push for cease fire in Gaza

Tor Wennesland. Photo by KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP via Getty Images

Tor Wennesland, U.N. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process , has been holding extensive talks with both Israel and Hamas over the past 24 hours in an effort to restore peace, a diplomatic source tells Axios.

Driving the news: The source said Wennesland spoke on Sunday to Israel’s National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat and other senior Israeli security officials as well as Hamas officials and Egyptian intelligence officials.

3 hours ago - Health

CDC director says politics didn't play a role in abrupt mask policy shift

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky told Fox News Sunday that political pressure had nothing to do with the agency's sudden announcement that fully vaccinated Americans can go without masks in most indoor settings.

Why it matters: Emerging evidence shows vaccinated people are less likely to transmit the virus, as COVID-19 cases and deaths drop. But the responsibility to uphold the abrupt policy change falls to individuals and businesses.