Syrian Civil War

Former anti-ISIS envoy: Trump's Syria decision has given ISIS "new life"

A refugee camp outside of Damascus. Photo: Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty Images

Brett McGurk, the former envoy for the anti-ISIS coalition who resigned after President Trump announced the U.S. would withdraw from Syria, wrote in a Washington Post op-ed Friday that Trump's decision is giving ISIS "new life," and that hopes for Syria "are dead."

The big picture: Trump's decision to pull troops from Syria sent shockwaves through the national security community and led to the resignation of both McGurk and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. McGurk writes that Trump's assertion that ISIS was defeated was "not true," and that his decision to leave Syria "was made without deliberation, consultation with allies or Congress, assessment of risk, or appreciation of facts."

Expert Voices

Trump threat likely to alienate Turkey, weaken U.S. leverage in Syria

Russian President Vladimir Putin pose for a photo with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani prior to their talks at Black Sea resort state residence
Russian President Vladimir Putin with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov via Getty Images

President Trump redefined his Syria policy in a volley of tweets Sunday, threatening to "devastate Turkey economically" if it attacks Kurds in Syria. At issue is Ankara’s longstanding objection to the U.S. alliance with the Syrian Kurdish forces (YPG), who have proven to be Washington's most reliable and efficient allies in Syria’s northeast in the fight against ISIS.

Why it matters: Trump's proclamation marks another troubling development in the souring U.S.–Turkey relationship, one that may further fuel anti-American sentiments in Turkey. 

More stories loading.