US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo commented at a joint press conference in Cairo on the US troops withdrawal from Syria and Washington's plans in the Middle East.
America is a "force of good" in the Middle East, Pompeo said. He also claimed that "when America retreats, chaos follows."
"For those who fret about the use of American power, remember: America has always been a liberating force, not an occupying power, in the Middle East. We've never dreamed of domination. Can you say the same of the Iranian regime?" the US secretary of state said.
He added that the United States will withdraw its troops from Syria while continuing to finish the battle against Daesh terrorists.
"The threat from radical Islamic terrorism is real. ISIS continues, we fight them in many regions around the country. Our commitment to continuing to prevent Daesh* growth… is real… We will continue at that. We're going to do it, in a way, in one particular place — Syria — differently. The United States' decision, President [Donald] Trump's decision, to withdraw our troops has been made. We will do that," Pompeo said at a press conference in Egypt.
Mike Pompeo stressed that the US will continue to carry out airstrikes in the Middle East as targets arise.
"Our airstrikes in the region will continue as targets arise," Pompeo said in a keynote address in Cairo, according prepared remarks released by the the State Department.
Withdrawal of US Troops From Syria
Earlier in December, media reported that Trump had ordered the Pentagon to develop a plan to withdraw about half of the 14,000 US troops in Afghanistan, coinciding with the president's announcement that 2,000 American military personnel were set to leave Syria.
According to US officials, the pull-out of the US troops, with their number exceeding 2,000, will take from 60 to 100 days.
However, Trump's decision to withdraw troops from Syria was criticised by several US officials and resulted in two high-profile resignations — US Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis, who announced that his views were no longer aligned with Trump's, and Brett McGurk, special presidential envoy for the US coalition in Syria.
*Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS) is a terrorist group banned in Russia