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White House pushes back on Macron's Syria claim

Donald Trump.
Photo: Chris Kleponis, Pool/Getty Images

Despite French President Emmanuel Macron's claim that France convinced President Trump to stay in Syria "long-term," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders pushed back on that assertion tonight, saying that Trump "has been clear that he wants U.S. forces to come home as quickly as possible."

The big picture: As Axios' Jonathan Swan put it, a reversal from Trump on his original thought process — with a long-term commitment in Syria — "would be one of the biggest and most abrupt foreign policy reversals in his presidency."

The full White House statement:

“The U.S. mission has not changed — the President has been clear that he wants U.S. forces to come home as quickly as possible. We are determined to completely crush ISIS and create the conditions that will prevent its return. In addition, we expect our regional allies and partners to take greater responsibility both militarily and financially for securing the region.”
— Sarah Sanders
Axios 6 hours ago
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Haley Britzky 7 hours ago
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Extremist with ties to 9/11 captured by U.S.-backed Syrian forces

Fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) stand guard on a rooftop.
Fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces stand guard on a rooftop in Raqa on October 20, 2017. Photo: Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images

Mohammed Haydar Zammar, a Syrian-born German extremist who is believed to have links to the 9/11 attacks, is being questioned by the Syrian Democratic Forces, NBC reported Wednesday, citing an AFP report, and CNN confirmed on Thursday.

Why it matters: Per CNN, Zammar "is believed to have recruited some of the perpetrators" for the 9/11 attacks. Zammar was "a well-known figure in the Muslim community (and to German and U.S. intelligence agencies by the late 1990s)," the 9/11 Commission Report stated, according to NBC. Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon told CNN that Zammar "was captured more than a month ago by SDF partners as part of their ongoing operations to defeat ISIS inside Syria."