Mattis Signs Syria Withdrawal Order Before Departing Defense Department

Departing Defense Secretary James Mattis signed the order to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria.

The withdrawal that was confirmed by an official from the Department of Defense reportedly is set to begin within the next few weeks.

“The execute order for Syria has been signed,” a defense official told CNN.

The official didn’t share many details except that the order contains only the logistics of the withdrawal, defining how and when it will take place.

Trump surprised Pentagon officials last week by announcing that the U.S. would withdraw the roughly 2,000 troops from Syria. Trump on Twitter claimed that the forces had successfully “defeated ISIS,” a claim that some defense experts within his own administration have doubted.

Mattis resigned on Thursday, one day after the announcement. Mattis in his resignation letter cited policy differences with Trump, saying the President does not share the same priorities.

Multiple top Republicans, including Senator Lindsey Graham, criticized Trump’s withdrawal from Syria; Graham called it an “Obama-like mistake.”

Brett McGurk, the special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS at the State Department, also submitted his resignation on Friday due to his disagreement with the President’s decision to withdraw the troops.

In a statement last week, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the U.S. plans to start bringing troops home “as we transition to the next phase of this campaign.”

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