In an interview on the CBS network, Mr Trump spoke of the "endless wars" in Syria and Afghanistan and made clear he wanted to reduce the costly United States military presence in those countries, despite warnings against such moves from his military advisers and spy chiefs. We have to protect other things that we have.
Votel said there are now between 1,000 and 1,500 IS fighters in the small area they still control in the southern part of the Euphrates River Valley near the Iraqi border.
After Trump made an unannounced visit to an air base in western Iraq in December, some Iraqi lawmakers pledged to draft a bill calling for the expulsion of American forces altogether, while others called for revising an agreement to significantly draw down the approximately 5,200 American troops in the country. He also tells @margbrennan one of the reasons he wants to keep troops in Iraq is "to be able to watch Iran".
Iran's Revolutionary Guards have sent weapons and thousands of soldiers to Syria to help shore up the rule of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during a seven-year civil war there.
The U.S. began the process of pulling out earlier this month, when it hauled vehicles and equipment from northeast Syria into neighboring Iraq.
Trump was expected to tout U.S. successes in Syria when he appeared before a joint session of Congress to deliver a State of the Union speech Tuesday night.
On Sunday, the New York Times reported that the us has been quietly negotiating with Iraq for weeks to allow Special Forces and support troops now operating in Syria to shift to bases in Iraq and strike ISIL from there.
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In case Washington decides to raid Iran or Syria from Iraq, the Kata'ib Hezbollah will "cut off its hands", the spokesman added.
Trump has said he has no plans to withdraw the 5,200 troops in Iraq, which he says could carry out USA airstrikes inside Syria after American troops withdraw from that country.
Responding if he would consider leaving behind a small USA military contingent in Afghanistan, the American commander-in-chief said, "Yes".
United States forces withdrew from the country in 2011 following an agreement with the Iraqi government, but maintained specific forces in special military positions.
Trump's comments added to concerns in Iraq about America's long-term intentions, particularly after it withdraws its troops from Syria. 'We have very fast airplanes, we have very good cargo planes.
Mr. Trump told Brennan that 2,000 troops remain in Syria, but they are starting to come home, as they push out the "final remainder of the caliphate". We can come back very quickly, and I'm not leaving.
He appeared to be referring to the Al-Asad air base in western Iraq, where he paid a brief visit to USA forces in December. "Iraq's constitution does not allow our territory of our country to be used against our neighbors", he explained. He also slammed the notion that the USA has a base in Iraq, reminding the world that the military bases in Iraq are Iraqi and foreigners are there as guests only.
"Memories of occupation are still fresh, and we're rubbing salt on that", Douglas Ollivant, a former National Security Council director for Iraq, told Al-Monitor.