It was always difficult to predict Trump’s policy in Syria. On the one hand, he was hawkish enough to advocate bombing the families of suspected terrorists. On the other, he wanted President Obama to stay out of Syria. But following a chemical attack that had many fingers pointing to the Assad regime, Trump carried out an attack on a Syrian government air base. Though that attack was limited, it didn’t stop Trump from threatening Assad over a prospective chemical attack that didn’t materialize. All of these incidents and statements left Trump’s actual policy goals in Syria pretty vague. But just this week, we got the first indication of a consequential policy change on Syria from the Trump administration, which just ended a covert CIA program to fund Syrian rebels aiming to take down the Assad regime. Officials said the move “reflects Trump’s interest in finding ways to work with Russia, which saw the anti-Assad program as an assault on its interests.” This doesn’t change, however, that large numbers of civilians in Syria continue to die due to Trump’s aggressively expanded airstrike campaign against ISIS in the country.

comments powered by Disqus