On December 19, Pres. Trump surprised the public and his U.S. ground commanders alike by announcing his plan to withdraw 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria. He claimed that ISIS had been defeated in the country. The decision was so controversial that it reportedly was the straw that broke the back of his own Defense Secretary, leading to Jim Mattis’ resignation.
Now, several major Christian organizations are speaking out, fearing that the move will further endanger the religious minority in the region. The president of Open Doors International—which recently named Syria one of the worst countries for Christian persecution in the world—told NPR, “Left to protect themselves, Christians will become extinct. So we’re going to need the U.S. or others to protect those religious minorities, or you’re going to have continued genocide.”
The Family Research Council—a group traditionally known for their alignment with conservative causes—issued a statement saying that Trump’s decision would put Syrian Christians in very real danger. They wrote:
President Trump’s recent announcement that he will withdraw U.S. military forces from Northern Syria aims to fulfill a campaign promise that he will defeat ISIS and bring home our troops. Yet it stands to put Syria’s Christian community — who have been a target of ISIS — in mortal danger. Compounding the danger of a withdrawal is the irony that it won’t likely help the president achieve his promise. While ISIS has suffered, it is not finished …
This type of betrayal is hard, if not impossible, to recover from. Further, abandoning them now could deal an incalculable blow to our professed concern for Christians being slaughtered by ISIS, and to our reputation as a supporter of religious freedom worldwide. We must not do it.
Even CBN—the organization founded by Pat Robertson—is speaking out. A CBN News reporter said, “For President Donald Trump, pulling U.S. troops out of Syria fits neatly into his ‘America First’ foreign policy, but as the U.S. prepares to draw down. Syrian Christians fear they’ll be wiped out. It appears U.S. policy has the potential to put 2000 years of Christian tradition and history at risk.”
Yesterday, hours after an ISIS attack killed two American troops, an American contractor and a Department of Defense civilian employee, Vice Pres. Mike Pence claimed ISIS had been defeated.