Officials: Trump, Putin to hold first summit

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin are set to meet after US national security adviser John Bolton confirmed details of the summit with Putin. CNN's Frederik Pleitgen reports.

Posted: Jun 28, 2018 8:21 PM
Updated: Jun 28, 2018 8:21 PM

President Donald Trump once again raised the idea of pulling the US out of Syria this week -- this time privately during a meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan at the White House, according to two diplomatic sources familiar with the sit-down.

The two leaders discussed Syria at length. One source told CNN that Trump believes he can strike a deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin on a so-called exclusion zone in southwest Syria that will allow the US to "get out ASAP."

Trump said in March that the US would "be coming out of Syria like very soon," just hours after the Pentagon had highlighted the need for US troops to remain in the country for the immediate future.

However, senior military officials continued to say Trump had not given any sort of timeline and the US presence would be condition-based.

Now Trump appears intent on reviving the issue and will have an opportunity to discuss the topic with Putin when the two meet in Helsinki, Finland, next month. US officials have said Syria is on the agenda for the summit, but they have offered few specifics as to what the two leaders will talk about.

According to these sources, Trump's plan would allow the Russians to help Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad take back an area along the Jordanian border where the US-led coalition and its military partners are experiencing increased opposition from "an unidentified hostile force" in recent days despite a previous ceasefire.

"The United States continues to warn both the Russian government and the Assad regime of the serious repercussions of these violations and demands that Russia restrain pro-regime forces from further actions within the southwest de-escalation zone," a statement from the State Department said last week.

By allowing the Russians to help Assad take back this region, Trump believes he can expedite the removal of US forces if certain conditions are met.

In exchange, Trump is looking to the Russians for assurances that the Syrian regime will not massacre the US-backed rebels in the region -- allowing them to cease hostilities and ship out of the area.

He would also expect the Russians to establish an exclusion zone to prevent fighting in southwest Syria and block Iranian-backed forces from the region, the sources said, adding that kicking Iran out of Syria is a key part of Trump's plan for US withdrawal.

But even if Putin were to agree to Trump's proposal, there are major concerns about whether Russia could accomplish what Trump is looking to achieve, the sources said.

There are also serious questions about how to address the refugee situation and allowing Assad to stay in power, they added.

In April, Trump announced that the US, in coordination with France and the United Kingdom, had launched strikes on Syria following a week of threats of retaliation for an alleged chemical weapons attack on civilians by the Assad regime.

But despite his intention to send a robust message to Assad for using chemical weapons, Trump has indicated he still wants to pull US forces from the country sooner rather than later, as US military leaders have said their mission there is limited to defeating ISIS.

At the time, one US defense official directly familiar with the ISIS campaign said it was unclear what the President meant by the comments, adding that the military's current assessment is that now is not the time to consider withdrawing, citing numerous challenges in Syria.

The official also noted that the US still needed to decide on a policy with regard to Assad's future and Russia's continued military presence in the county as additional complicating factors.

The President's desire to exit Syria as soon as possible has raised concerns among US allies in the region, particularly the rebel Syrian Democratic Forces, and could embolden the forces of the Syrian regime, Iran and Turkey, all of which have mostly resisted attacking US allies in Syria due to concerns about US retaliation.

This story has been updated to clarify sourcing for information about the nature of the deal.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 92432

Reported Deaths: 2792
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds6931154
DeSoto535455
Harrison370771
Jackson335867
Madison319086
Rankin316174
Lee256166
Jones237678
Forrest231769
Washington216371
Lafayette205039
Lauderdale1990124
Bolivar177565
Oktibbeha174149
Lamar157733
Neshoba1529103
Panola142426
Sunflower139643
Lowndes138957
Warren137250
Leflore135380
Pontotoc121216
Pike120448
Monroe118265
Scott115925
Copiah115733
Coahoma111227
Holmes108558
Marshall107115
Grenada105035
Lincoln104953
Yazoo103529
Simpson100742
Union97724
Tate95037
Leake93735
Adams90936
Wayne87121
Pearl River85150
Marion83633
Prentiss80317
Covington79622
Alcorn76311
Newton75022
Itawamba74621
Tallahatchie74518
George74013
Winston72019
Tishomingo65336
Chickasaw64124
Attala64025
Tippah63716
Walthall59025
Clay56516
Hancock55720
Noxubee54015
Jasper53815
Clarke53138
Smith51814
Calhoun50612
Tunica47613
Montgomery45320
Claiborne45116
Lawrence42312
Yalobusha41514
Perry39417
Humphreys37215
Quitman3725
Stone34811
Greene33817
Webster32813
Jefferson Davis32311
Amite31110
Carroll31012
Wilkinson30117
Kemper28615
Sharkey26212
Jefferson2379
Benton2181
Franklin1873
Choctaw1775
Issaquena1033
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 128818

Reported Deaths: 2284
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson18772333
Mobile12975289
Montgomery8598173
Madison742275
Tuscaloosa7081114
Lee560359
Shelby557250
Baldwin503348
Marshall378442
Etowah330645
Calhoun324939
Morgan314226
Houston264422
Elmore249747
DeKalb232619
St. Clair219835
Walker219180
Talladega203426
Limestone194219
Cullman180817
Franklin173428
Dallas173226
Russell16922
Autauga166424
Lauderdale161633
Colbert158126
Escambia155424
Blount152714
Jackson148511
Chilton146327
Covington130327
Dale130043
Coffee12488
Pike11359
Tallapoosa112983
Chambers111742
Clarke104617
Marion92128
Butler90638
Barbour8247
Marengo69619
Winston68712
Lowndes64527
Pickens62814
Bibb61910
Hale61028
Randolph59112
Bullock58514
Lawrence57820
Monroe5738
Geneva5564
Cherokee54816
Washington54513
Perry5366
Clay5317
Wilcox53011
Crenshaw51931
Conecuh51711
Macon46720
Henry4594
Sumter41719
Fayette4159
Choctaw34412
Lamar3372
Cleburne3166
Greene30015
Coosa1603
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 66°
Columbus
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 69°
Oxford
Scattered Clouds
63° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 63°
Starkville
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 68°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather