Earlier this week President Trump announced the withdrawal of American troops from Syria despite objections from military and civilian advisers and raising questions about the timetable, the impact on US allies in the region, and the overall US strategy in the Middle East. We asked our panel of experts to weigh in on the debate.

Should the United States withdraw its military forces from Syria?

6 Yes

Two arguments persist from those who provide comments about why they favor a US withdrawal:

  • Syria is only peripheral to US strategic interest
  • There’s been mission creep beyond the original discreet goals

24 No

Two consistent themes emerge from those who provide further insights on their objections to a US withdrawal:

  • It is premature and there doesn’t appear to be any plan
  • The negative impact an early withdrawal may have on allies

Why Yes?

“Unless and until there is a clear strategy for Syria, for the region, and for countering ISIS—which there hasn’t been in either the Trump or Obama administrations—we should cut our losses and pull troops out.”

- Anonymous Expert

“Pentagon wants military forces there. We'd be abandoning our Kurdish allies and our American values if we cut and run.”

- Anonymous Expert

“We entered Syria with explicit and discreet goals; there has been a mission creep beyond these initial aims. I don't think we should withdraw should be executed now, or in such a disorderly fashion, but I do think that we should be angling towards the withdrawal of US forces once we've achieved our objectives.”

- Anonymous Expert

Why No?

“It does not appear that we have secured the situation. A premature withdrawal could undo years of work.”

- Philip Levy, senior fellow, global economy, Chicago Council on Global Affairs

“Withdrawal without proper evaluation of how it will impact the country's infrastructure and capacity to recover independently could result in tensions/conflict/instability in the region reigniting shortly after the troops' withdrawal.”

- Anonymous Expert

“We majorly screwed up Iraq by entering, and then doubly-screwed over Iraq by pulling out too soon. Let's save Syria from some exceptionally American damage. We've already done enough harm.”

- Anonymous Expert