Trump Gives New Deadline for Syria Withdrawal

Minnie Murray
January 3, 2019

Graham said Trump reassured him of the USA commitment to defeat Islamic State.

Trump had come under fire for his projected quick withdrawal from various quarters, including retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who commanded American-led troops in Afghanistan from 2009 to 2010, and warned, "If you pull American influence out, you're likely to have greater instability and of course it'll be much more hard for the United States to try to push events in any direction".

Graham described those modifications in general terms, as he affirmed, "I've never felt better about where we are headed" in Syria.

In a series of tweets on Monday, the president said he was the only person in the United States who could bring USA troops home with victory and still be subjected to negative reporting.

When he announced he was pulling troops from Syria, Trump said the withdrawal would be rapid.

Contradicting Trump's claim, France's defence minister said on 20 December that IS had been weakened but not been wiped from the map in Syria and that the fight to defeat them definitively in their remaining pockets needed to carry on. "I campaigned against the NEVER ENDING WARS, remember!" he added.

US-backed Kurdish militia has begun to withdraw from Manbij in northern Syria, inviting the Syrian army to move in as Turkey masses troops on the border. "Just doing what I said I was going to do!"

Bolton's spokesman, Garrett Marquis, said in a statement Monday that Bolton will be joined in Turkey by Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and James Jeffrey, the secretary of state's special representative for Syria engagement.

Much of the criticism surrounding the President's decision to withdraw troops from Syria - a move he frequently mentioned both on the campaign trail and in office - has been tied to the possibility that a lack of U.S. troops could allow ISIS to regain some of its strength in the region.

Trump's comments come a day after Republican Sen.

"The decision the president made on Syria in no way changes anything this administration is working on alongside Israel".

On Sunday, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who is one of Trump's principal allies in an increasingly unfriendly Congress, lunched at the White House to urge a rethink on Syria.

Following the announcement that US Troops would be pulled out of Syria, Turkey planned a military operation against pro-US Kurds.

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 USA allies participating in anti-ISIS operations. "If we leave now, the Kurds are going to get slaughtered".

"Turkey doesn't like them", Trump said.

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