USA will protect Kurds, no timetable for Syria withdrawal

Trump Goes Wobbly on Threats

Still, Mr Trump declined to set a timetable for United States withdrawal from Syria, reversing an earlier announcement of a fast pullout over a period of 30 days. "The president will make sure any withdrawal from Syria will be done in a fashion to ensure 1) ISIS is permanently destroyed, 2) Iran doesn't fill in the back end, and 3) our Kurdish allies are protected", Graham tweeted.

"We're getting out and we're getting out smart", Trump said.

Trump's statement comes a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to discuss Syria and Iran.

Trump also affirmed there was no timetable for the withdrawal from Syria, countering aNew York Times report on Monday of a four-month period for the troop withdrawal.

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

"I didn't like the fact that they [YPG] are selling the small oil that they have to Iran", Trump said during a Cabinet meeting at the White House in front of reporters. "I campaigned against the NEVER ENDING WARS, remember!" he added.

The report also comes after a senior Israeli official said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked Trump to stagger the planned withdrawal of United States military forces from Syria over a lengthy period of time, rather than an immediate pullout. He said, "We have won against ISIS ... we have beaten them and we've beaten them badly and now it's time for our troops to come back home". "Look, we don't want Syria".

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He said: "I shouldn't be popular in Europe".

Much of the criticism surrounding the President's decision to withdraw troops from Syria - a move he frequently mentioned both on the campaign trail and in office - has been tied to the possibility that a lack of United States troops could allow ISIS to regain some of its strength in the region.

Kuwait said on Monday it expected more Arab countries to reopen embassies in Damascus in "coming days" but added that the move would need a green light from the Arab League, which suspended Syria's membership seven years ago.

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. Lindsey Graham (R, South Carolina) explained on Sunday.

Trump also touched on his thoughts on Kurdish groups fighting in Syria, saying the U.S. should "protect the Kurds" but called the country "sand and death". It has been freed by pro-US Kurds supported by the International Coalition.

"Turkey doesn't like them", Trump said. Garrett Marquis, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, stated, "Ambassador John Bolton will travel to Israel and Turkey in early January to discuss the deliberate and coordinated withdrawal of US forces from Syria, and increased cooperation with the Turkish military and other partners".

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