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U.S. withdrawal from Syria would be a strategic defeat

a hand removing a green army helmet from the middle of the Syrian flag
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

President Trump reportedly decided yesterday to keep U.S. troops on the ground in Syria a while longer, walking back his declaration on Tuesday that it's time to bring those troops home because "we've had a tremendous military success against ISIS."

Why it matters: Ending the U.S. presence in Syria is a bad idea. American troops have provided valuable support and intelligence to local Kurdish forces fighting ISIS and have at times engaged in direct combat. A U.S. withdrawal would constitute a strategic victory for Bashar al-Assad’s abhorrent regime, for its patrons Iran and Russia and for ISIS itself, allowing the group a chance to recoup.