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Donald Trump at a luncheon with the leaders of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Photo: Chris Kleponis, Pool / Getty Images

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Wednesday the "military mission to eradicate ISIS in Syria is coming to a rapid end, with ISIS being almost completely destroyed." An announcement on America's future military involvement in Syria will be made “relatively soon,” Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said, per the AP.

The big picture: If the U.S. pulls out, it would likely be a gift to Iran, Syria, and Russia, which have been backing Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. It would also raise security concerns for Israel, which has called for stronger action to counter Iran’s presence and influence in Syria.

  • Trump’s national security team held an “all hands-on deck” conversation about how to proceed militarily in Syria, Coats told reporters Wednesday, per the AP.
  • Trump told reporters at the White House yesterday that he wants to "get out" of Syria as he believes the U.S. has completed its mission of defeating ISIS.
  • If the U.S. withdraws, this would harken back to Trump's campaign days when he railed against past U.S. leaders for ensnaring the U.S. in conflicts abroad.
  • It would contrast with Trump’s decision to remain in Afghanistan indefinitely even though he had said he wanted to withdraw troops there as well. What he said then: "My original instinct was to pull out, and historically I like following my instincts. But all of my life I heard that decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the Oval Office.”

What the White House is saying this morning:

"The military mission to eradicate ISIS in Syria is coming to a rapid end, with ISIS being almost completely destroyed," Sarah Sanders said in a statement. She also said "The United States and our partners remain committed to eliminating the small ISIS presence in Syria that our forces have not already eradicated."
— White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders

Go deeper: The administration’s recent mixed messages on Syria.

Go deeper

42 mins ago - Health

Standardized testing becomes another pandemic victim

Photo: Edmund D. Fountain for The Washington Post via Getty

National standardized reading and math tests have been pushed from next year to 2022, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: There’s mounting national evidence that students are suffering major setbacks this year, with a surge in the number of failing grades.

1 hour ago - World

European countries extend lockdowns

A medical worker takes a COVID-19 throat swab sample at the Berlin-Brandenburg Airport. Photo by Maja Hitij via Getty

Recent spikes in COVID-19 infections across Europe have led authorities to extend restrictions ahead of the holiday season.

Why it matters: "Relaxing too fast and too much is a risk for a third wave after Christmas," said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

2 hours ago - Health

Africa CDC: Vaccines likely won't be available until Q2 of 2021

Africa CDC director Dr. John Nkengasong. Photo: Mohammed Abdu Abdulbaqi/Anadolu Agency via Getty

Africa may have to wait until the second quarter of 2021 to roll out vaccines, Africa CDC director John Nkengasong said Thursday, according to the Associated Press.

Why it matters: “I have seen how Africa is neglected when drugs are available,” Nkengasong said.