Pres. Trump defends Syria withdrawal, hails success against ISIS

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'I think the president is committed to making sure when we leave Syria that ISIS is completely defeated, ' Graham said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said the fighters who withdrew from Manbij on Wednesday were not YPG fighters but belonged to other militias within the SDF. So we have a lot to talk about today.

"We have a tumultuous regime or region (in Syria) that now has a Russian presence which had been out for about 30 years", he said.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity to reporters in Rio de Janeiro as Netanyahu continues his state visit to Brazil, said the premier made the request during a recent phone call with Trump, after the U.S. leader announced plans to remove troops from the war-torn Arab country.

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 USA partners such as the Kurds, who are concerned about a possible attack from Turkey. That is significant in itself: clear affirmation of what Graham had said.

A senior Republican senator said Sunday that President Donald Trump had promised to stay in Syria to finish the job of destroying the Islamic State group - just days after announcing he would be withdrawing troops immediately.

In the past, Trump has said he has great admiration for the Kurds, describing them as great fighters.

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After first talking about firing Gen. James "Mad Dog" Mattis, Trump discussed both the timeline for troop withdrawal and the fate of Kurdish allies in the region once US troops leave.

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 U.S. 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.

Israel worries that Iran is constructing a "land bridge" connecting resources and military forces from Tehran all the way to the Mediterranean Sea through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, taking advantage of broken local governments and American retreats. "I'm not happy about it at all" said Trump.

USA commanders planning the withdrawal are recommending that YPG fighters battling Isis be allowed to keep US-supplied weapons, according to USA officials. "I'm getting out, we're getting out of Syria-look, we don't want Syria".

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 USA troops in Syria were ready to leave. "We're not thrilled about that", he said.

That changed, however, after US President Donald Trump announced last month that US forces will be leaving Syria.

National security adviser John Bolton is scheduled to travel to Israel and Turkey in January.

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