Brett McGurk, the special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, had been planning to exit his post in February 2019. But sources tell CBS News that he informed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that he will accelerate his departure due to a strong disagreement with President Trump’s snap decision to
McGurk submitted his resignation on Friday, just one day after Defense Secretary
The special envoy was publicly left in the lurch by the president’s sudden declaration on Wednesday that he was pulling U.S. forces out of Syria, against the advice of his top national security advisers and without consulting U.S. allies.
As leader of the counter ISIS mission, McGurk had been in the region to meet with coalition partners including Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani last week when Mr. Trump made his sudden decision to pull U.S. support. According to Barzani’s office, he had raised concern about the fate of Kurds in Syria including the Kurdish-led group of fighters known as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). They have been the ground troops in the fight against ISIS and receive help from U.S. advisers, weapons and air strikes.
It is now unclear what will happen to those fighters after the U.S. troops withdraw, and whether the U.S. will continue to carry out air strikes in support of them.