Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon, Defense Secretary James Mattis downplayed the chances of the US withdrawing from Syria soon. He said the US would not want to withdraw from the country while Syria is still in a state of war.
[skipping over the part quoting Trump announcing for his fan club that he wants U.S. troops to leave Syria]
Mattis, however, argued that the US had “won the fight” and now it was up to US diplomats to “win the peace.” Given how many different wars are ongoing in Syria, however, this is still going to be a protracted war. Under Mattis’ argument, it would have US troops there the whole time.
US diplomats aren’t in much of a position to negotiate with anyone, either. The US has long insisted on unconditional regime change in Syria, but no longer has any nationwide allied factions in Syria to prop up. Indeed, most US diplomatic effort in Syria is spent trying to keep former allies from fighting current allies, and Turkey from overrunning the Kurds.
The above from Jason Ditz's April 30 report for Antiwar.com, Mattis: US Doesn’t Want to Leave Syria While War Is Ongoing.