'Iran can do what they want in Syria'

Arturo Kim
January 3, 2019

"I think we're slowing things down in a smart way", the South Carolina Republican told reporters at the White House, where he'd just sat for lunch with the President.

However the Turkmen have expressed their desire to be set free from the dictatorship of the pro-US Kurds, not by Syria but by Turkey. Instead, the US President is now saying that the withdrawal of US will happen "over a period of time", and that reports about a four months period were not discussed.

A senior Israeli official said Wednesday that "Israel received nearly everything it wanted" during the meeting.

Trump also added that it's "possibly true" that a "very small percentage" of ISIS may come to the United States if we stop fighting them on their turf.

Donald Trump has ordered a slowdown on the withdrawal of United States forces from Syria, according to Republican senator Lindsey Graham.

In contrast to previously emphatic victory declarations, Trump said that "ISIS is mostly gone".

On 19 December, Mr Trump announced the pullout of some 2,000 troops, asserting that IS had been defeated.

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He tweeted, "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".

Graham suggested to reporters on Sunday after having lunch with Trump that the President now better understands the stakes in Syria and, for now, has agreed to reevaluate his plans to immediately withdraw all USA troops from the country. Were he to withdraw precipitously from Syria and the Islamic State return or commit some other major atrocity, the ensuing blame would fall on him.

The president suggested the results are far better than he ever said they were going to be, and reminded Americans he campaigned against "never-ending wars".

Lindsey Graham, who had earlier called the withdrawal decision a "huge Obama-like mistake", told journalists: "The president assured me he is going to make sure he gets the job done".

The senator's remarks after the White House meeting were considerably modulated from his tone earlier in the day, when he told ABC television's "This Week" that "if we leave (Syria) now, the Kurds will get slaughtered". "They're inside the 10-yard line in defeating ISIS, but we're not there yet". It prompted Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to step down, and the USA envoy to the coalition fighting Islamic State militants resigned in protest. He also said Russian Federation "hates ISIS more than we do".

Kurdish Syrian forces at the weekend asked the Assad Government for protection against a Turkish attack on a flashpoint town. 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.

In response to the uproar, Trump national security advisor John Bolton will soon visit allies Turkey and Israel, which each have their own complex goals in Syria's multi-dimensional civil war.

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