Expert Voices

After strikes, U.S. commitment to Syria remains muddled

A picture taken on September 17, 2016 shows an American flag (R) fluttering above a building used by the Kurdish police known as the Asayish, in the Syrian town of Tal Abyad.
An American flag above a building used by the Kurdish police Tal Abyad, Syria, in 2016. Photo: Delil Souleiman/AFT via Getty Images

At yesterday's Oval Office press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron, President Trump said of Syria, "We'll be coming home, but we want to leave a strong and lasting footprint."

Yet it's doubtful the U.S. could maintain a strong or lasting footprint without committing to stabilization, which would involve a larger U.S. troop presence or support for a Turkish security zone in northern Syria.

The big picture: Little has changed since the coalition airstrikes on April 13, a response to President Bashar al-Assad's latest chemical weapons attack, and the White House continues to send mixed messages about the U.S. presence in Syria.