READ: Donald Trump Tweets ‘We Have Defeated ISIS in Syria, My Only Reason for Being There During the Trump Presidency’

Now that’s some friendly fire.

“The Coalition has liberated the ISIS-held territory, but the campaign against ISIS is not over,” said Defense Department spokesperson Dana W. White. “We have started the process of returning U.S. troops home from Syria as we transition to the next phase of the campaign.”

The U.S. will “continue working with our partners and allies to defeat ISIS wherever it operates,” White said.

The Trump administration was warned as recently as Monday to not underestimate the capability of ISIS to regroup without an American military presence.

“The strategy is to use these various levers, the lever of all these military forces running around … the fact that much of the territory and many of the more valuable resources such as oil and gas are not in the hands of the regime,” James Jeffrey, the State Department’s special envoy for Syria, said. “We’re well on our way to seeing that happen, the problem is ISIS will come back if the underlying conditions are receptive to that kind of ideological movement.”

Given all this, Trump took a beating on Twitter from people wondering what on Earth he is talking about. It was correctly noted that Trump – in office nearly two years – has yet to visit troops in a war zone.

Suspicion over who – or what – is dictating Trump’s foreign policy is afoot.

https://twitter.com/3aalperAlp/status/1075447836358123521

Trump is largely standing on his own, despite having promised during the campaign to “bomb the shit” out of ISIS. This promise, however, conflicts with another Trump guarantee… that he would end American participation in Middle East conflicts.

But Trump’s decision Wednesday did not just fall out of the blue.

“We’ll be coming out of Syria, like, very soon,” Trump said in March. “I want to get out. I want to bring our troops back home.”

In April, he pledged a six-month window in which a plan would be developed to end American military involvement in Syria.

In September, National Security Advisor John Bolton said U.S. troops would remain in Syria until Iranian forces withdrew.

Earlier this month, Marine General Joe Dunford, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said ISIS was far from defeated and that only 20 percent of U.S.-backed Syrian forces have been trained.

“With regard to stabilization,” Dunford cautioned, “we have a long way to go.”

Rising tensions with Turkey, which has threatened to attack American Kurdish partners in Syria, may offer a glimpse into Trump’s thinking. Regardless, the president’s decision is sure to please the axis of autocrats he so desperately seeks to emulate.

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