On December 19 President Trump announced that he would be withdrawing all U.S. troops from Syria. This is a step in the right direction, and we urge the U.S. to follow through on this commitment. We also continue to support an end to all foreign military involvement in Syria, as our partners in Syria have urged for years.
Many say that keeping U.S. troops in Syria is necessary to ensure the “enduring defeat” of ISIS. But as we have long argued, military actions will never be able to fully defeat a movement like ISIS.
What is needed is long-term investment in addressing the root causes that led to support for ISIS and other groups like it—ensuring that people’s basic needs are met, establishing functional and effective state institutions, and reestablishing trust between communities of different ethnic and religious backgrounds.
U.S. investment in rebuilding Syria and diplomatic negotiations to end the war will go much further in bringing about peace than will continued military involvement.