Trump ally Graham will ask president to reconsider Syria withdrawal

Trump ally Graham will ask president to reconsider Syria withdrawal

Senator Lindsey Graham suggested the withdrawal had been slowed and he was now reassured of the president's commitment after meeting him on Sunday.

US President Donald Trump says his decision to pull American troops out of Syria should not have surprised anyone because he campaigned against US involvement in never-ending wars. The move led to the resignations of Trump's defense secretary, James Mattis, and his top counter-Islamic State official, Brett McGurk. Just doing what I said I was going to do!

While visiting soldiers in Iraq last week - his first visit to US troops in a combat zone as commander-in-chief - Trump said the forces that remain there could act against any Islamic State resurgence in neighboring Syria.

"That's what we're talking about", Trump said during a cabinet meeting. "We're slowly sending our troops back home to be with their families, while at the same time-fighting Isis [Daesh] remnants", he said on Twitter on Monday.

When Trump first ordered a drawdown within 30 days, his position provoked an outcry, including from some of his political allies like Graham, who said that such a hasty withdrawal would leave exposed US partners such as the Kurds, who are concerned about a possible attack from Turkey.

"Military officials have declined to specify the timing of the departure, partly for operational security reasons and partly because many details are still quite fluid, and officials recognize that Mr. Trump could change his mind at any moment and speed up the departure". "Number one, make sure that ISIS never comes back in Syria", he said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union".

"I get it. We're not the policemen of the world here".

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".

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President Trump said that the USA would continue to protect YPG terrorist in Syria even after they leave the country.

"And, at the end of the day, if we leave the Kurds and abandon them and they get slaughtered, who's going to help you in the future?" he said.

Graham, who as a member of the Armed Services committee has frequently visited United States troops in combat zones, was once a frequent critic of Trump but, reversing course, now frequently defends him and seems to have gained privileged access to the president's ear.

"I think the president is committed to making sure when we leave Syria that ISIS is completely defeated and we are inside the 10-yard line", he said, using an alternative name for the Islamic State group. "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".

About 2,000 United States 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.

"That's a nightmare for Israel", Graham said.

That proposal would likely anger Turkey, where Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, is expected to hold talks this week.