President Trump on Monday ordered a hold on new economic sanctions against Russia over its support for Syria and said he remain committed to pulling U.S. troops out of the war-torn nation, despite what was widely seen as a successful strike with allies on President Bashar Assad’s chemical weapons infrastructure over the weekend.
The reversal announced by the White House on Monday seemed to underscore Mr. Trump’s continued ambivalence over the way forward in Syria, where he has clashed with his own civilian and military advisers over the wisdom and necessity of keeping U.S. troops stationed on the chaotic Syrian battlefield where fighters from Russia, Iran, Turkey and terror groups like Islamic State are all jockeying to territory and influence.
A day after U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said new economic penalties on Russia for its support of Syria’s chemical weapons program were imminent, Mr. Trump said, essentially, not so fast.
“We’re evaluating, but nothing to announce right now,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters of possible sanctions.