Trump Defends Decision to Withdraw Troops From Syria

Trump Goes Wobbly on Threats

Trump 'slowing down' planned withdrawal from Syria, senator says

Trump did not provide a timetable for the planned military exit from Syria, which he announced last month against the advice of top national security aides and without consulting lawmakers or US allies participating in anti-Islamic State operations.

"We're in countries that most people have never even heard about", he said, referring to U.S. combat deployments, including in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

The US-led coalition launched its first raids against IS in September, 2014, more than two years before Trump won the US election.

Following the Kurds" liberation of Manbij from IS in August 2016, Turkey invaded Syria in a military operation dubbed "Euphrates Shield', capturing a swath of territory in the north. Mediation by Russian Federation and the United States prevented a direct conflict between the Turkish-backed militias and Kurds in Manbij at the time, but Ankara has continued to insist on a Kurdish withdrawal beyond the Euphrates ever since.


Trump did not provide a timetable for the planned military exit from Syria, which he unexpectedly announced last month against the advice of top national security aides and without consulting politicians or USA allies participating in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS).

While White House officials have denied reports that Trump also has ordered half of the 14,000 USA troops in Afghanistan to come home, Trump made it clear he has run out of patience for what's become the longest United States war.

Critics of Trump's decision for the withdrawal not only warn of a resurgence of ISIL, but worry that the withdrawal is a betrayal of US-backed Kurdish forces in Syria and leaves them vulnerable to an attack from Turkish forces. "I never said I'm getting out tomorrow".

The report also comes after a senior Israeli official said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked Trump to stagger the planned withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Syria over a lengthy period of time, rather than an immediate pullout.


Trump had earlier stunned allies - and prompted the resignation of his respected defense secretary, Jim Mattis - by abruptly announcing that the jihadists were defeated and that United States troops in Syria were ready to leave.

Trump's comments come a day after Republican Sen. But the new timeline for the US exit remains unclear. "That's what we're talking about", Trump said during a cabinet meeting. "Now when I start getting out the Fake News Media, or some failed Generals who were unable to do the job before I arrived, like to complain about me & my tactics, which are working", Trump wrote on Twitter.

He said: "I shouldn't be popular in Europe".

About 2,000 U.S. forces and other foreign troops are in Syria to assist local fighters battling IS, the jihadists who once controlled a "caliphate" covering much of Iraq and Syria.


"I said, 'You know, I never said that I'm going to rush out, '" the President told Fox News Channel in an interview that ran on Monday.

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