US Wants to Protect Kurds in Syria Even After Troops Withdrawal

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"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.

"I want to fight the war in the enemy's backyard, not ours". "We're not talking about vast wealth, we're talking about sand and death".

"After discussions with the President and (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph) Dunford, I never felt better about where we are headed".

Speaking later on CNN, Mr Graham also expressed concern that the U.S. withdrawal would leave "our allies the Kurds" in the north of Syria exposed to attacks from Turkey. That is significant in itself: clear affirmation of what Graham had said.

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.

President Donald Trump has reportedly agreed to allow the Pentagon four months to withdraw the 2,000 USA military troops from Syria.

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

The strike came a day after Iraq's government hinted at greater involvement for its armed forces in Syria as the U.S. begins withdrawing troops from the country.

"I think the president is committed to making sure when we leave Syria that ISIS is completely defeated and we are inside the 10-yard line", he said, using an alternative name for the Islamic State group.

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Their departure was in line with an agreement "for the return of normal life to the area of northern Syria", the ministry said in a statement.

Trump also responded to questions about the United States decision to withdraw from northern Syria.

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.

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".

In this photo from April 28, 2017, USA forces, accompanied by Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) fighters, drive their armored vehicles near the northern Syrian village of Darbasiyah, on the border with Turkey.

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.

Trump's decision to exit Syria was widely criticized for leaving America's Kurdish allies exposed to an attack by Turkey in the city of Manbij. "We're not thrilled about that", he said.

National security adviser John Bolton was expected to travel to Israel and Turkey next weekend to discuss the President's plans with the American allies.