MOSCOW, December 21. /TASS/. US Defense Secretary James Mattis’s resignation stems directly from US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from Syria, Russian Special Presidential Envoy for the Middle East and Africa, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told reporters on Friday.
"We need to see how this decision will be implemented because Defense Secretary James Mattis’s resignation has so far been the only direct consequence," he said in response to a question about the consequences of the US troop pullout from Syria.
On Thursday, Trump wrote on Twitter that Mattis would retire at the end of February, adding that "a new secretary of defense will be named shortly." Mattis said in his resignation letter that he was resigning because of a difference of views between himself and the US president.
On December 19, Trump ordered a full withdrawal of US troops from Syria. "After historic victories against ISIS, it’s time to bring our great young people home!" he said. Washington launched a military operation against the Islamic State group in Iraq in June 2014 and in Syria in September 2014. More than 2,000 US troops are currently deployed to Syria.