Top U.S. diplomat fighting ISIS, Brett McGurk, resigns

The U.S. special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, Brett McGurk has accelerated his resignation, citing his unwillingness to carry out President Donald Trump’s newly declared policy of withdrawing from Syria, CBS news reported.

News on McGurk’s resignation from the post, which he originally planned to exit in February 2019, arrives one day after that of Defense Secretary James Mattis stepped down from his post, citing fundamental disagreements with the commander-in-chief, including one over the importance of honoring U.S. alliances.

U.S. President Trump's snap decision to withdraw 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria, effectively abandoning U.S. allies in the region following the defeat of ISIS, was announced on Twitter on Wednesday, leaving the special envoy in the lurch, CBS said.

Leading the ISIS mission of the U.S., McGurk had been in the region to meet with coalition partners including Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani last week when Trump made his sudden decision to pull U.S. support, it said, highlighting that the top enjoy had raised concern about the fate of Kurds in Syria including the Kurdish-led group of fighters known as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

The United States backs the SDF in its fight against the ISIS in Syria, while Turkey sees SDF’s armed forces, People’s Protection Units (YPG), as an extension of Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) that has been fighting inside Turkey since 1984.

McGurk, just days earlier, stood at the State Department podium to guarantee an ongoing U.S. commitment to the fight against ISIS, CBS said.

"I think it's fair to say Americans will remain on the ground after the physical defeat of the caliphate, until we have the pieces in place to ensure that that defeat is enduring,’’ it quoted McGurk as sayiong. "It would be reckless if we were just to say, well, the physical caliphate is defeated, so we can just leave now. I think anyone who's looked at a conflict like this would agree with that."

McGurk,  one of the few Barack Obama appointees asked by the Trump team to remain in his post, boasts an impressive resume with leading U.S. efforts to counter the influence of ISIS on the battlegrounds of Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond since 2015.