Policy Brief

Changes in the US Presence and Objectives in Syria

Through three successive White House administrations, the US linked its presence in Syria to the war on terrorism, then represented by ISIS, which began in Iraq and then spread to Syria.  During the era of Barack Obama, in the second half of 2014, Washington began forming an international coalition to fight ISIS. The military operation of the international coalition continued until the end of March 2019, the month in which ISIS was geographically defeated after Donald Trump's administration moved into the White House in about twenty-six months.

On March 23, 2019, the official spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced that the SDF, in coordination and with direct support from US-led international coalition forces, had completely eliminated ISIS in northeastern Syria, six months after the start of a new military operation targeting the area of Baghouz in Deir Ezzor province, which was the last stronghold of ISIS in Syria. After the direct fighting with ISIS ended, there was talk of the Trump administration's intention to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria.