Withdrawing America's military from Syria too soon could provide an opportunity for Iran to expand its empire, President Donald Trump admitted Tuesday.
Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron discussed the Syria issue during a meeting Tuesday, and both leaders addressed the topic at a joint White House press conference in the East Room.
"I'd love to get out and bring our incredible warriors back home. They've done a great job," Trump said. "Essentially, [they] just absolutely obliterated ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
"Emmanuel and myself have discussed that we don't want to give Iran open season to the Mediterranean, especially since we really control it to a large extent."
The United States military has been in Syria for several years to fight the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group and to help opposition forces in their ongoing Civil War with the Syrian military. Russia is aligned with the Syrian government. If the U.S. pulls out of the country, there is concern that Iran could step in and take control of portions of the country.
"We will see what happens. We are going to be coming home relatively soon," Trump said.
Trump added later that he and Macron talked about their shared desire to have some of the wealthy countries in the Middle East contribute more to the region's security effort.
"We have spent $7 trillion in the Middle East. And we've got nothing for it. Nothing. Less than nothing, as far as I am concerned. Over an 18-year period," Trump said. "The countries that are there that you all know very well, they are immensely wealthy and they are going to have to pay for this. I think the president and I agree on this. And they will pay for it."
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the Trump administration would like to see the creation of an Arab force to stabilize parts of Syria when the U.S. departs.
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