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Trump's 'defeat' of Islamic State in Syria prompts mixed feelings online

A decision by the US to withdraw its troops from northeastern Syria has led, unsurprisingly, to contrasting views on what's going on
A member of the Syrian pro-government forces holds an Islamic State (IS) group flag after they entered the village of Dibsiafnan on the western outskirts of their former Syrian bastion of Raqqa (AFP)

On Wednesday, US President Donald Trump announced on Twitter that the Islamic State (IS) group had been defeated in Syria.

Since his announcement, the United States has reportedly already begun withdrawing its forces from northeastern Syria.

The US has at least 2,000 troops stationed in the region. It has also waged an aerial campaign there in support of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighting against IS.

The unexpected decision from the White House has caused a stir amongst social media users regarding the reason and timing of the withdrawal.

Some users speculated over the future implications of the decision on a number of international actors involved in the Syrian conflict. James O'Brien, who appears to be referring to Robert Mueller, the US attorney overseeing the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections, sees the move as good - for the US's rivals. 

Other media personalities showed their support for Trump’s announcement:

However, Trump’s statement on winning the fight against IS has been tempered by both the Pentagon and the White House.

"These victories over ISIS in Syria do not signal the end of the global coalition or its campaign," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said. "We have started returning United States troops home as we transition to the next phase of this campaign."

"The Coalition has liberated the ISIS-held territory, but the campaign against ISIS is not over," Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said in a statement.

The Pentagon vowed to continue working with its partners in the region to defeat IS "wherever it operates".

Social media users echoed such statements in questioning Trump's assertion that IS has been defeated.

Trump also seems to be confused himself. Has he "beaten the hell" out of IS, or not? It's hard to tell.