The Apostolic Vicar of Aleppo Joyful Over the Retreat of American Forces

January 23, 2019

Less than a month after the announcement by American President Donald Trump of the retreat of some 2,000 American soldiers from Syria, the American Army began in early January to proceed to withdraw its materiel from the country.

Although the departure date of the troops on the ground is not yet known, this retreat continues to cause uneasiness on the part of Washington’s allies.

This sentiment is not shared by Bp. Georges Abou Khazen, Apostolic Vicar of Aleppo for the Latin-rite Catholics. He in fact welcomed the decision by President Trump:

We are always glad when foreign forces and armed groups withdraw, abandon their position and leave to the Syrians the responsibility and the freedom to address and to resolve their own problems.

When asked by the Vatican missionary agency Fides, the Franciscan bishop nevertheless remarked that in all these cases there are “many unknowns”: “what about the Kurds now? What will be Turkey’s claims with regard to them?”

Besides, Islamic State still has several pockets and dormant cells, particularly in the Eastern part of Syria, where the coalition continues its battle with the on-the-ground support of the Syrian Democratic Forces (FDS).

The war in Syria broke out in 2011 and spread over the course of the years, involving jihadist groups and foreign powers. To date it has caused more than 360,000 deaths.