President Donald Trump gives military 4 months to leave Syria

Senator Lindsey Graham speaks to reporters outside the White House

Senator Lindsey Graham speaks to reporters outside the White House

Trump announced earlier this month that he was ordering the withdrawal of all the roughly 2,000 troops from war-torn Syria, with aides expecting it to take place swiftly.

"It's the craziest thing I've ever seen", Trump said, adding that the USA should pull out and let Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) and the Taliban fight each other.

Military and security experts said Trump was overstating the case, and warned against a hasty withdrawal.

The decision was criticized by some US officials and followed by two resignations - US Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis, who announced that his views were no longer aligned with Trump's, and Brett McGurk, special presidential envoy for the US coalition in Syria. "If I stayed in Endless Wars forever, they would still be unhappy!" It is threatening to launch an offensive against the YPG, igniting fears of significant civilian casualties.

Critics not only warn of a resurgence of IS, but worry that the American exit is a betrayal of US -backed Kurdish forces in Syria and leaves them vulnerable to an attack from Turkish forces.

Critics also contend that the USA withdrawal would embolden Iran and Russian Federation, which have supported the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

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

"The decision by the president on Syria in no way changes anything that this administration is working on alongside Israel", Pompeo said at a joint press conference with Netanyahu before they held talks in Brazil.

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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-Islamic State operations.

Military officials have scrambled to translate Trump's shifting directives and comments into actual orders for commanders in Syria and Iraq to carry out.

TRT World's Yusuf Erim has more.

"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", he tweeted.

The report came after Trump tweeted that "we're slowly sending our troops back home", backtracking on his initial order for a rapid withdrawal.

For a president who has looked to the military for affirmation throughout his campaign and presidency and boasted about stocking his Cabinet with what he called "my generals", his decision December 19 to withdraw quickly from Syria was a significant split from his military and civilian advisers.

"We're going to discuss the intense cooperation between Israel and the United States, which will also deal with the questions following the decision, the American decisions on Syria, on how to intensify even further our intelligence and operations cooperation in Syria and elsewhere to block Iranian aggression in the Middle East", Netanyahu said. The criticism from McChrystal, who commanded US -led troops in Afghanistan from 2009 to 2010, echoed long-standing denunciations by former senior intelligence officials, who have warned that Trump's approach to national security is reckless. There is an argument that says we just pull up our stuff, go home, let the region run itself. "That has not done well for the last 50 or 60 years", McChrystal said Sunday on ABC's "This Week".

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