Pompeo said that the withdrawal of U.S. troops doesn’t change efforts to destroy the Islamic State (ISIS) or pressure Iran.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo argued in an interview broadcast early Sunday that President Trump’s decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria is a “tactical change” that does not affect his administration’s goals in the Middle East.

“Those are all real missions,” he said. “The tactical change we’ve made and the withdrawal of those two thousand troops is just that – a tactical change. Mission remains the same.”

Pompeo said Sunday that Trump previously spoke with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan about protecting Kurdish fighters.

“The Turks have made clear that they understand that there are folks down in Syria that have their rights,” he said. “We also want to make sure that those in Syria aren’t attacking- terrorists aren’t attacking Turkey from Syria. We’re fully engaged.”

A spokesman for U.S. coalition forces said Friday that the U.S. “has begun the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria. Out of concern for operational security, we will not discuss specific timelines, locations or troop movements.”

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