Foreign Minister Winston Peters says the withdrawal of US forces from Syria is a matter "entirely for the United States".

This comes after US President Donald Trump claimed on Twitter that ISIS had been "defeated" in Syria and that was "the only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency".

He yesterday announced the withdrawal of more than 2000 troops in Syria.

The decision was met with surprise, according to reports in the New York Times – but Trump said on Twitter it should come as "no surprise" as he had been campaigning on it for years.


Not long after the Tweet, the White House said the process of bringing soldiers back to the US was underway as the Government "transitions to the next phase of this campaign".

In a statement, Peters said the US presence in Syria is something the Government have supported as part of a global effort to counter the threat of ISIS.

But the withdrawals were "a matter entirely for the United States".

According to the Ministry of Defence, New Zealand has no defence force personnel located in Syria.

However, there are up to 121 personnel deployed to the Middle East in roles associated with the Defeat-ISIS Coalition in Iraq.

Just a day after Trump's decision to withdraw troops from Syria, his Defence Secretary James Mattis resigned, citing irreconcilable policy differences.

"Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position," Mattis wrote in a letter to Trump.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the UK Government said the global coalition against ISIS has made "huge progress".


"Since military operations began, the Coalition and its partners in Syria and Iraq have recaptured the vast majority of Daesh (ISIS) territory and important advances have been made in recent days in the last area of eastern Syria which Daesh has occupied."

But the spokesman said the US' withdrawal does not signal the end of the global coalition to defeat ISIS.

"This Government will continue to do what is necessary to protect the British people and our allies and partners."