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US envoy to anti-Daesh coalition quits over Trump's Syria move

Brett McGurk, the US envoy to the global coalition fighting Daesh, has resigned in protest to President Donald Trump's abrupt decision to withdraw US troops from Syria.

McGurk joins Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in an exodus of experienced national security officials.

Only 11 days ago, McGurk had said it'd be "reckless" to consider Daesh defeated and therefore would be unwise to bring American forces home. He decided to speed up his plan to leave in mid-February.

His resignation letter, submitted Friday to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, was described to AP on Saturday by an official familiar with its contents. The official was not authorized to publicly discuss the matter before the letter was released and spoke on condition of anonymity.

McGurk, whose resignation is effective Dec. 31, was planning to leave the job in mid-February after a U.S.-hosted meeting of foreign ministers from the coalition countries, but he felt he could continue no longer after Trump's decision to withdraw from Syria and Mattis' resignation, according to the official.

Trump is acting to pull all 2,000 US troops from Syria and has now declared victory over Daesh, contradicting his own experts' assessments. Many lawmakers have called his action rash and dangerous.

His exit from the role comes two days after the UN envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, acknowledged that a committee tasked with writing a new constitution for the war-wracked country would not be in place by year’s end as was hoped.

“We have nearly completed the work of putting in place a constitutional committee to draft a constitutional reform, as a contribution to the political process — but there is an extra mile to go,” De Mistura told the Security Council.

“I deeply regret what has not been achieved, and I am sorry more was not possible,” he added, noting there were issues with a list of participants proposed by the government in Damascus.

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