Trump softens Syria pullout schedule but claims 'hero' status


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.

"We're in countries that most people have never even heard about", he said, referring to USA combat deployments, including in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

However, Trump modified that decision, following a December 26 visit to Iraq, where he was briefed by United States commanders, as Sen. 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.

The president also said Syria was "lost long ago".

But after saying troops would come home right away, and that the Islamic State group was defeated, he didn't give any specific timetable.

At the height of the Vietnam War, Trump was given a deferment from getting drafted by the military thanks to a doctor's note claiming that Trump had "bone spurs" in his feet.

US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he was not happy about the oil sales to Iran being carried out by YPG in northern Syria.

Islamic State, or ISIS, is "mostly gone", he said, and the USA is slowly pulling out, "while at the same time fighting ISIS remnants". "Just doing what I said I was going to do!"

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His announcement of an abrupt withdrawal of United States forces cost him his defence secretary when Jim Mattis quit in protest.

According to the report Trump told the commander of American forces in Iraq and Syria, Lt. Gen. Paul J. LaCamera, that the military could have several months to complete a safe and orderly withdrawal, according to two United States officials.

"Oh, we're withdrawing", he said, adding that it would happen "over a period of time".

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.

Leading Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, one of Trump's principal allies in an increasingly unfriendly Congress, used lunch at the White House on Sunday to urge the president to reevaluate on Syria.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a critic of Trump's decision on Syria, said on Sunday the president had been thinking "long and hard about Syria" and how to withdraw U.S. forces while maintaining national security interests.

The source added that Netanyahu came out of the meeting with Pompeo feeling that Israel has the ability to influence certain aspects of USA policy, and the two countries are now working on plans to make the American troop pull-out as non-disruptive for Israeli security as possible.

"Turkey doesn't like them", Trump said.