Pres. Trump defends Syria withdrawal, hails success against ISIS

Larry Hoffman
January 3, 2019

We're talking about sand and death. "We're talking about sand and death". "We're not talking about vast wealth".

President Donald Trump signaled Monday the U.S.is slowing its withdrawal of 2,000 troops stationed in Syria.

He denied there was a set timeline for the withdrawal, saying it would be "over a period of time".

"I want to fight the war in the enemy's backyard, not ours".

"I think we're in a pause situation where we are re-evaluating what's the best way to achieve the president's objective of having people pay more and do more", Mr. "Why are we getting in the middle of it?" "They're inside the 10-yard line in defeating ISIS, but we're not there yet". Except the results are FAR BETTER than I ever said they were going to be!

I don't know about you, but that's not the way I'd like to see the new year starting.

"But we want to protect the Kurds, nevertheless, we want to protect the Kurds", he continued.

The YPG is part of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which has close military cooperation with the US.

"Turkey doesn't like them", Trump said. If the Kurds - which Ankara considers terrorists - were to actually leave the area, there would be "no job left" there for the Turkish military, Erdogan said. Turkey doesn't like them.

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.

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As for the YPG, geography alone prevents them from selling oil to Iran, a knowledgeable Kurdish source told Kurdistan 24.

Kuwait's Deputy foreign minister Khaled Al-Jarallah said the Gulf state remained committed to the Arab League's decision and would reopen its embassy in Damascus once the organisation allowed it.

With an impending USA departure, the YPG asked the Syrian regime to bolster defences around Manbij as Syrian militias allied to Turkey built up their troops in the area.

More than 30 vehicles had departed Manbij for the eastern bank of the Euphrates River.

It was not entirely clear whether Trump was referring to the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in Syria or the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq.

Nearly all the territory east of the Euphrates comprises about a third of the territory of Syria, except for the Bashar Assad regime-controlled area near Deir el-Zour and the area near the Iraqi border controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a group dominated by YPG terrorists.

Last week, the Syrian army announced it had entered Manbij and raised the Syrian flag, after striking a deal with the YPG. His announcement of an abrupt withdrawal of United States forces cost him his defence secretary when Jim Mattis quit in protest.

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