The US troop withdrawal from Syria needs a “pause” in order to protect the Kurds, the potential interests of Israel, and to prevent Iran from scoring a big win in Syria, a top GOP senator has said.
The withdrawal of the US military from the country is currently in a “pause situation,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R- SC) told reporters on Monday after having lunch with President Trump at the White House.
“We talked about Syria. He told me some things I didn’t know that made me feel a lot better about where we’re headed in Syria,” said Graham, who is an outspoken critic of Trump’s decision to pull troops out of Syria.
“I think we’re slowing things down in a smart way.”
Earlier this month, Trump announced his decision to withdraw the US contingent – believed to be some 2,000-strong – from Syria, yet again claiming victory over the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorist group in the country. Graham believes the group was not actually defeated and the president promised to destroy it again.
“He promised to destroy ISIS. He’s going to keep that promise. We’re not there yet,” said the senator.
Apart from that, Trump is “worried” about the “potential dangers to Israel,” and will work with Ankara to ensure that “we don’t have a war between the Turks and our allies the Kurds,” Graham revealed.
“We still have some differences but I will tell you that the president is thinking long and hard about Syria – how to withdraw our forces but at the same time achieve our national security interests, which are to make sure ISIS is destroyed, they never come back. That our allies – the Kurds – are protected and that Iran doesn’t become the big winner of our leaving,”she said.
Trump’s abrupt decision to withdraw from Syria has drawn bipartisan ire, as well as triggering a warmongering meltdown in the media. Graham himself has demanded hearings on the Syria move, as well as on Trump’s decision to scale down the US military presence in Afghanistan.