Trump defends pulling United States forces from Syria

Top Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway seemed to hint that the US president might be planning to tweak his blueprint for a troop withdrawal from Syria

Trump Goes Wobbly on Threats

Graham told reporters that Trump was committed to making sure Turkey did not clash with the Kurdish YPG forces once USA 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.

Netanyahu met with Pompeo in Brasilia on Tuesday to discuss developments in the Middle East, including security cooperation between the two countries regarding Syria and Iran.

"We're getting out and we're getting out smart", Trump said. The pro-US Kurds had asked for Syrian troops to be deployed first at Manbij, then throughout the North East of Syria, above the Euphrates.

Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, will be traveling to Israel and Turkey in early January to discuss what the White House says is the "deliberate and coordinated" withdrawal of USA forces from Syria.

He declined to be specific about how long troops would remain in Syria.

'If anybody but Donald Trump did what I did in Syria, which was an ISIS loaded mess when I became President, they would be a national hero, ' Trump tweeted, using another acronym for IS. Theoretically, such oil could be shipped across Turkey to Iran, but Ankara "would never allow it", he said.

Indian police clash with protesters over women in Hindu temple
Indian women stand in a line to take part in a "women's wall" protest in Kochi in southern Kerala state on January 1, 2019. The leader of opposition Ramesh Chennithala said the entry of the women into the shrine "hurt" the sentiments of devotees.

Trump said the slower planned withdrawal was motivated in part by the desire to protect the US-backed Kurdish fighters in the country as Washington draws down troops.

'ISIS is mostly gone, we're slowly sending our troops back home to be with their families, while at the same time fighting ISIS remnants, ' he said.

Trump's troop drawdowns triggered the resignation of his defense secretary, Jim Mattis, long one of the chaotic administration's steady hands.

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. If the Kurds - which Ankara considers terrorists - were to actually leave the area, there would be "no job left" there for the Turkish military, Erdogan said.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Trump's withdrawal plans and if there were any official changes to them. But the new timeline for the USA exit remains unclear. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina. Trump went out of his way to explain his continuing commitment to the Kurds. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders later said that the United States had started to withdraw its troops from the country, but that the victory over the Daesh did not signal the end of the US-led coalition's campaign in Syria. He said they would discuss how to best confront security challenges facing allies & partners in the region, "including the next phase of the fight against ISIS".

Latest News