Senator Lindsey Graham had warned that removing all 2,000 US troops from Syria would hurt national security by allowing Islamic State to rebuild, betraying USA -backed Kurdish fighters of the YPG militia battling remnants of the militant group, and enhancing Iran's ability to threaten Israel. "That's what we're talking about", Trump said during a cabinet meeting.
"I think ISIS is as much an idea as it is a number of ISIS fighters", McChrystal said.
Trump did not provide a timetable for the planned military exit from Syria, which he unexpectedly announced last month against the advice of top national security aides and without consulting politicians or U.S. allies participating in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS).
ISIS has lost all of the territories it once held in Iraq and controls only one percent of the territory it had in Syria, according to a November report by the Department of Defense.
Netanyahu said he was happy to meet Pompeo for the second time in a month, saying they had "a lot to discuss" about their "common aims". "If we leave now, the Kurds are going to get slaughtered". "I think we're slowing things down in a smart way". "But the goal has always been the same". Make sure Isis never comes back.
The announcement appears to be at odds with Trump's original declaration in which he vowed an immediate removal of USA forces from Syria and the defeat of the Daesh terrorist group.
"That's why we need to keep some of our troops there", he said.
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"This president is cleaning up the mess left by the last administration, which never took the threat of ISIS seriously", she said.
Trump abruptly announced in mid-December that he was withdrawing 2,000 USA troops from Syria.
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. "The pause is to assess the effects of the conditions on the ground".
Trump had initially ordered the military to withdraw personnel within 30 days when he announced his abrupt Syria pullout last month.
"We're slowly sending our troops back home to be with their families, while at the same time fighting ISIS remnants", Trump wrote.
The president has long campaigned for the removal of USA troops from the Middle East, arguing that there was no benefit for the country to be involved in the many conflicts there.
On Wednesday, Trump made clear his frustration with the never-ending "war on terror" that has followed the September 11, 2001, attacks.