President Donald Trump says the roughly 1,000 U.S. troops he has ordered to leave Syria will remain in the Middle East to prevent a resurgence of the Islamic State threat.
In a written statement Monday announcing his authorization of economic sanctions on Turkey, Trump made clear that the withdrawing troops will leave Syria entirely.
He said the troops will "redeploy and remain in the region." He described their mission as "monitoring the situation" and preventing a "repeat of 2014," when IS fighters who had organized in Syria as a fighting force swept into neighboring Iraq and took control of Iraq's north and west.
Trump confirmed that the small number of U.S. troops at a base in southern Syria will remain there.
In his sanctions announcement, Trump said he was halting trade negotiations with Turkey and raising steel tariffs. He said he would soon sign an order permitting sanctions to be imposed on current and former Turkish officials.
“I am fully prepared to swiftly destroy Turkey’s economy if Turkish leaders continue down this dangerous and destructive path,” Trump said.
On Saturday, the president authorized the release of $50 million in emergency assistance to Syrian human rights groups and other organizations working to protect civilians in the war-torn country.
The statement released by the White House said the funds would "provide emergency financial assistance to Syrian human rights defenders, civil society organizations, and reconciliation efforts directly supporting ethnic and religious minority victims of the conflict."
"It will also go toward increased accountability, removal of explosive remnants of war, community security for stabilization assistance, documenting human rights abuses and international humanitarian law violations, and support for survivors of gender-based violence and torture," the statement continued.