Trump on Syria Pullout: Erdogan Assured Me He'd 'Eradicate Whatever's Left of ISIS'

Trump said that Turkey will continue fighting the remaining Islamic State forces, declaring: 'Our troops are coming home!'

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan posing with US President Donald Trump during the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, December 1, 2018.
AFP

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday that he spoke with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who assured him that Turkey would "eradicate whatever is left of ISIS." 

"He is a man who can do it plus, Turkey is right 'next door,'" Trump said of the Turkish president.

According to the Anadolu news agency, both leaders agreed to maintain military and diplomatic coordination in order to avoid an authority gap as a result of U.S. withdrawal from Syria.

“We discussed ISIS, our mutual involvement in Syria, and the slow and highly coordinated pullout of U.S. troops from the area,” Trump said in a tweet. “Our troops are coming home!”

Trump said he and Erdogan also discussed “heavily expanded” trade between the United States and Turkey, after the two NATO allies’ relationship went into a tailspin over the summer.

On Sunday, Demiroren News Agency (DHA) reported that Turkey is sending reinforcements to its border with Syria, adding that some 100 vehicles, including mounted pickup trucks and weaponry, had made their way to the area. 

U.S. lawmakers have expressed concerns about the fate of U.S. partners left in Syria, especially Kurdish fighters who battled against Islamic State extremists at the behest of Washington.

>> Trump’s Syria withdrawal and Mattis’ resignation startle Israel – and undercut Netanyahu | Analysis ■ How Trump told Erdogan U.S. was leaving Syria ■ Will Turkey crush Syrian Kurds' secular utopia? ■ Israel left with false Russian promises, a volatile Trump

Trump announced the withdrawal last week, upending a pillar of American policy in the Middle East and alarming U.S. allies. The decision was followed on by the surprise departure of U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who in a resignation letter to Trump laid bare the growing divide between the two over foreign policy.

Trump cited the defeat of ISIS as the reasoning behind withdrawal from the war-torn country. During Trump's first year in office, forces completed the takeover of Islamic State's de-facto capitals in Syria and Iraq, Raqqa and Mosul.