Trump Gives New Deadline for Syria Withdrawal

03 January, 2019, 06:22 | Author: Trevor Moore
  • Senator Lindsey Graham listens during a press conference at the US Capitol in Washington DC on US President Donald Trump's decision to remove US military forces from

On Monday, Trump said on Fox News that he had conciliated Senator Lindsey Graham about Graham's concern regarding a rapid withdrawal, asserting, "I said, 'You know, I never said that I'm going to rush out.'" He added that the USA could still fight ISIS despite pulling out from Syria, positing, "You can do two things at once".

Graham told reporters that Trump was committed to making sure Turkey did not clash with the Kurdish YPG forces once U.S. troops leave Syria, and was assuring the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally that it would have a buffer zone in the region to help protect its own interests. "I campaigned against the NEVER ENDING WARS, remember!" the president tweeted.

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.

After discussions with the president and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, the senator said he "never felt better about where we are headed".

The YPG is the Syrian wing of the PKK which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the EU.

Iraqi warplanes hit a meeting of leaders of the militant Islamic State group near Deir al-Zor in Syria on Monday, destroying the building they were gathered in, the military said in a statement, without giving further details about the militants targeted.

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Kuwait said on Monday it expected more Arab countries to reopen embassies in Damascus in "coming days" but added that the move would need a green light from the Arab League, which suspended Syria's membership seven years ago. "The pause is to assess the effects of the conditions on the ground".

The Kurds have been the main element of the US-backed "Syrian Democratic Forces", a proxy army operating in northeastern Syria against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS).

Mr Trump told Lindsey Graham, a leading Republican senator, that he was reconsidering how he would carry out his promise to "bring the troops home", Mr Graham said after a meeting at the White House. He reiterated that he has fought against the "never-ending wars".

Those concerns are shared at the top of Trump's own Republican party. "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. "Just doing what I said I was going to do!" the president said. The State Department's Syria team led by James Jeffrey and Joel Rayburn and the president's national security adviser John Bolton are advocating a slow pullout, and the Pentagon is preparing a list of options for the president.

Saying that the Taliban and Islamic State terrorists are "fighting each other" in parts of Afghanistan, he said he told the generals, "Why don't you let them fight?"

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