Putin Says He Supports Trump’s Syria Troop Withdrawal

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday praised Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria. Putin also said that  the American presence in Syria is “illegitimate.”

During his annual news conference with domestic and foreign media, Putin was asked by a U.S. reporter what he thought of the decision by Trump.

“Donald is right and I agree with him,” Putin said.

On Wednesday, Trump tweeted: “We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.”

“I’ve been campaigning on it for years, and six months ago, when I very publicly wanted to do it, I agreed to stay longer. Russia, Iran, Syria & others are the local enemy of ISIS. We were doing there (sic) work. Time to come home & rebuild.”

“Getting out of Syria was no surprise. I’ve been campaigning on it for years, and six months ago, when I very publicly wanted to do it, I agreed to stay longer. Russia, Iran, Syria & others are the local enemy of ISIS. We were doing there work. Time to come home & rebuild.”

In his remarks Putin repeated Moscow’s view that the U.S. presence in Syria is “illegitimate” because it had not been agreed to by the United Nations. It also was not approved by Syrian President Bashar Assad.

“If the U.S. decided to withdraw its contingent, it has done the right thing,” Putin said.

The U.S. troop withdrawal will consolidate Russia’s influence in Syria, since Putin has been a supporter of the current regime.

Putin also added a skeptical comment as he pointed out that U.S. troops have been in Afghanistan for 17 years and “they always say they’re withdrawing.”

“We see no signs of withdrawal, but we admit that this is possible, especially since we are moving along the path of a political settlement,” Putin said.

Trump’s decision was met with shock at home as many others in the media, government and defense communities disagreed with him. But that apparently is not important to Trump so long as he keeps Putin happy.