Trump Pushes Back on Macron Comment, Says U.S. Mission in Syria Has 'Not Changed'

U.S. President Donald Trump still wants U.S. forces in Syria to return home as soon as possible, the White House said on Sunday

French President Emmanuel Macron and U.S. President Donald Trump shake hands in Paris, France in July 2017.
Bloomberg

U.S. President Donald Trump still wants American forces in Syria to return home as soon as possible, the White House said on Sunday, after French President Emmanuel Macron said he had convinced Trump to keep a U.S. presence there for "the long term." 

"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," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement. 

"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," she said.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday said he had convinced U.S. President Donald Trump to maintain troops in Syria, as he defended France's participation in joint airstrikes.

In telephone calls before the Saturday airstrikes, Macron said he had persuaded Trump not to pull out of Syria. "We convinced him it was necessary to remain there," he said.

"We have complete international legitimacy to act in this framework," Macron said in an interview broadcast by BFM TV, RMC radio and Mediapart online news. "We have three members of the (United Nations) Security Council who have intervened." 

Macron's comments come after U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Sunday that the United States would not pull its troops out of Syria until its goals were accomplished.