Within a few hours, the bombing raids sparked appeals from two parties urging the president to continue the course in Syria until the terrorist group is finally defeated. But analysts said the tragedy could just as easily deepen Trump's instincts to move away from a country that is said to be just "sand and death."
"My gut tells me that this will reinforce Donald Trump's instincts in the retreat," said Charles Lister, senior executive at the Middle East Institute. "Trump said Syria is all about sand and dying, we've just seen more death, all the more reason to leave the country … but it also reinforces its critics' argument that ISIS has not been defeated local ally are exposed to serious threats on the ground against which we can assist them in defense. "
"I think it will stimulate the ongoing debate about what withdrawal means," said Lister, adding, "I do not think he does
Trump's unexpected statement on December 19 that he should pull troops led to the resignation of former Secretary of Defense James Mattis and concerns in the administration and on Capitol Hill that the decision for Iran was a huge one Success was the US influence in the region and thus undermined the US Kurdish allies a possible attack from Turkey suspended.
Over the past few weeks, administrators of National Security Advisor John Bolton have begun to add to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo conditions that could delay a withdrawal of troops indefinitely, and have withdrawn from the schedule discussion. [Wednesday] Vice President Mike Pence said the troops would come home declaring that despite the deadly attack, "we crushed the IS caliphate and destroyed its capabilities."
"When we start to bring our troops home, the American people can be assured, for the sake of our soldiers, their families and our nation, we will never allow the remnants of ISIS to restore their evil and murderous caliphate – not now, never, "said Pence, without explaining how that would happen.
A source familiar with the government's thinking about Syria said, "I think it probably makes a deduction or withdrawal of troops more difficult. "
" It highlights the complexity of the situation, "the source said.
"Trump does not want to hold forces in what he calls these" endless wars "like Obama, and he also wants to reduce the exposure of American forces, but the problem is how to do that when ISIS is still there." said the source.
On Wednesday afternoon, the White House hosted a previously scheduled meeting in Syria, calling out lawmakers like Republican Senator Jodi Ernst of Iowa, who publicly urged the president to reconsider the retreat, and others like Republican Senator Rand Paul Kentucky, who has applauded the move. In a statement, after leaving the White House, Paul signaled that Trump did not change his mind.
"I've never been proud of President Donald Trump," Paul said. "At today's meeting, he stood up for a strong America and firmly opposed wars abroad, putting America first means declaring victory in Afghanistan and Syria, and President Trump doing what he promised!"
But other legislators have issued warnings.
The leading Republican of the House Foreign Relations Committee, Texas Deputy Michael McCaul, said in a statement that the attack "is a reminder that ISIS still has the ability to launch attacks, and I urge the President to: to react vigorously and to ensure that we do not withdraw our troops until ISIS is completely destroyed. "
A conservative group, Defense Priorities, called the Presidents to fulfill their promise. "This tragic loss of life should remind everyone of the serious risks associated with maintaining the US military in Syria," said Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Davis in a statement released by the group. "That's why the President ordered the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of US troops last month."
In the White House, two officials said Wednesday that the president continued to believe it was time for US troops to return home. Certain retreat plans are still dependent on local events, they said, including the strength of the IS and the security guarantees for the Kurds.
Despite Trump's statement in December that troops would "come home" now, the workers did not leave the country. CNN reported last week that the first US ground equipment, including some cargo, had been withdrawn from Syria.