Washington: President-elect Donald Trump said Friday that he was likely to abandon the US effort to support “moderate” opposition groups in Syria who are battling the government of President Bashar Al Assad, saying, “We have no idea who these people are.”
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal that dealt largely with economic issues, including his willingness to retain parts of the Affordable Care Act, he repeated a position he took often during his campaign: that the United States should focus on defeating Daesh, and find common ground with the Syrians and their Russian backers.
His comments suggest that once Trump begins overseeing both the public support for the opposition groups, and a far larger covert effort run by the CIA, he may wind down or abandon the effort. But there are in fact two wars going on simultaneously in Syria.
One is against Daesh, in which the United States is supporting 30,000 Syrian-Kurdish and Syrian-Arab fighters, who last weekend announced they were opening a new phase of the battle, beginning to encircle the Daesh capital in Raqqa. There are about 300 US Special Operations forces on the ground assisting these militia.