2. SOUNDBITE (English) Donald Trump, U.S. President:
"(Reporter: Will you maintain a limited amount of troops in Syria?)
Well, we don't think it's going to be necessary. I don't want to leave troops there. It's very dangerous for, you know, we had 28 troops, as it turned out. People said 50, it was 28. And you had an army on both sides of those troops. Those troops would have been wiped out. I don't think it's necessary. Other than that we secured the oil, in a little different section, but we secured the oil. And the other reason ... region where we've been asked by Israel and Jordan to leave a small number of troops is a totally different section of Syria near Jordan and close to Israel. And that's a totally different section. That's a totally different mindset. So we have a small group there and we've secured the oil. Other than that, there's no reason for it, in our opinion. And again, the Kurds are going to be watching. We're working with the Kurds. We have good relationship with the Kurds. But we never agreed to protect the Kurds. We fought with them for three and a half to four years. We never agreed to protect the Kurds for the rest of their lives. Remember this? When Iraq was fighting the Kurds, everybody thought we were going to fight with the Kurds. I said, well, it's a little strange that we're fighting with the Kurds. We just spent four trillion dollars on Iraq and now we're gonna be fighting Iraq. So what I did is I said, we're not going to take a position. Let them fight themselves. I thought the Kurds would do very well. Everyone said, oh, the Kurds will do very well. Well, Iraq moved in and the Kurds left. They didn't fight because they didn't have us to fight with. A lot of people are good when they fight with us. You know, when you have 10 billion dollars worth of airplanes shooting 10 miles in front of your line, it's much easier to fight. But with that, they were a good help. But we were a great help to them, too. They were fighting ISIS, you know, they hated ISIS. So they were fighting ISIS. But we never agreed. Whereas an agreement that said we have to stay in the Middle East for the rest of humanity, for the rest of of civilization to protect the Kurds? It never said that. And we have protected them. We've taken very good care of them. And I hope they going to watch over ISIS, because that's again, most of it's not in the safe zone, as we call it. Some places called demilitarized zone in the old days would call areas like this a demilitarized zone. And our relationship with the Kurds is good and they're going to be safe. And I will say this, if shooting didn't start for a couple of days, I don't think the Kurds would have moved. I don't think, frankly, you would have been able to make a very easy deal with Turkey. I think when it started for a few days, it was so nasty that when we went to Turkey and when we went to the Kurds, they agreed to do things that they never would have done before the shooting started. If they didn't go through two and a half days of hell, I don't think they would have done it. I think you couldn't have made a deal. And people have been trying to make this deal for years, but we're close to making it. We'll see what happens. Again, they've been fighting for 300 years that we know of, 300 years. So why should we put our soldiers in the midst of two large groups, hundreds of thousands, potentially, of people that are fighting? I don't think so. "
President Donald Trump says he still wants to get all U.S. troops out of Syria, but Israel and Jordan have asked him to keep some in Syria.
Just last week Trump said the roughly 1,000 American troops in northeastern Syria will go home, leaving about 200 at a base in the southeast of the country. Then officials said the bulk of the troops would shift to Iraq.
Trump's Pentagon chief, Mark Esper, said Monday that he is considering the possibility of leaving an additional contingent in eastern Syria to work with Syrian Kurdish fighters to combat the Islamic State.
Trump also told reporters at the White House that the U.S. would "work something out" with the Kurds in eastern Syria to ensure they have access to income from Syrian oil.
He suggested sending an American oil company there to help.