$4.1 Million in U.S. Military Gear Unaccounted for in Syrian War, Some Due to Trump's 'Unexpected Withdrawal'

The U.S. Army failed to properly account for $4.1 million in gear during the war against the Islamic State in Syria, according to a new report published by the Pentagon's Office of the Inspector General.

Published Thursday, the report noted that 79 pieces of theater-provided equipment (TPE) were not adequately accounted for, some because of poor internet connection, and some because of President Donald Trump's abrupt decision to withdraw U.S. troops from the war torn nation.

The OIG report said that 1,124 pieces of equipment including vehicles, laptops, and communication devices worth $45.6 million was taken from Syria as of August 2019. Of the 192 pieces of equipment that left Syria via the Erbil Redistribution Property Accountability Team facility, valued at $6.9 million, and tracked by the OIG, 79 items valued at $4.1 million were not properly accounted for.

While no items in the sample were lost, the OIG projected that the Army did not properly account for 559 items overall, based on the findings from the 192-item sample.

Sixty-nine of the pieces of equipment were not accounted for because "internet connectivity problems" prevented personnel from correctly detailing the transfers in the Army War Reserve Deployment System. The other 10 pieces of equipment were not properly accounted for because of the "unexpected withdrawal" of U.S. troops from Syria ordered by Trump in December 2018.

Trump shocked the international community and his own military officials when he ordered U.S. forces to withdraw from Syria at the end of 2018. The president wrote on Twitter, "We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency."

The decision drew condemnation from key members of both parties in the U.S., who warned that leaving the country would create a power vacuum that would allow remaining ISIS elements to reform.

Then-Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis resigned over the proposed withdrawal, telling the president in a letter that he had "the right to a defense secretary whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects."

Trump walked back his withdrawal order and U.S. troops are still in Syria. Most that remain are now tasked with defending oil fields in the east of the country against remaining ISIS fighters. In January, the president told Fox News, "I left troops to take the oil. I took the oil. The only troops I have are taking the oil."

US, Syria, withdrawal, equipment, Donald Trump, OIG
This file photo shows American soldiers on the M4 highway in the town of Tal Tamr in the northeastern Syrian Hasakeh province on the border with Turkey on January 24, 2020. DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP via Getty Images/Getty