'Sand and death': Donald Trump summarises Syria

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham

USA troops have helped rid much of Syria's north-east of the jihadist group, but pockets of fighters remain.

Trump fought back against the criticism. "I never said fast or slow" he told reporters. "It is Fake News and Pundits who have FAILED for years that are doing the complaining". 'I want to fight the war in the enemy's backyard, not ours.

Critics not only warn of a resurgence of IS, but worry that the American exit is a betrayal of USA -backed Kurdish forces in Syria and leaves them vulnerable to an attack from Turkish forces. Turkey views the YPG as a branch of its own Kurdish separatist movement and is threatening to launch an offensive against the group, igniting fears of significant civilian casualties.

Baghdad has carried out several air raids in Syrian territory with the agreement of President Bashar al-Assad.

Garrett Marquis, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, stated, "Ambassador John Bolton will travel to Israel and Turkey in early January to discuss the deliberate and coordinated withdrawal of USA forces from Syria, and increased cooperation with the Turkish military and other partners".

"Ambassador John Bolton will travel to Israel and Turkey in early January to discuss the deliberate and coordinated withdrawal of US forces from Syria, and increased cooperation with the Turkish military and other partners", Marquis said in a statement, adding that Dunford and Jeffrey would be traveling with Bolton in Turkey.

CNN reported that Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had communed with national security adviser, John R. Bolton, before the two men travel to Turkey and Israel.

In a new video, ISIS vowed its power would resurge in 2019 just like it did when former president Obama pulled USA troops out of Iraq.

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U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that the U.S. -backed YPG militants in Syria were selling oil to Iran and Washington was "not thrilled" about it.

"I think we're in a pause situation where we're re-evaluating what's the best way to achieve the president's objective of having people pay more and do more", Graham said.

"I think we're slowing things down in a smart way", Graham said, adding that Trump was very aware of the plight of the Kurds.

Meanwhile, a senior Israeli source said after the meeting that Israel got "almost everything it asked for" when Pompeo granted "seven out of eight" requests made Netanyahu during their meeting.

On Sunday Graham praised the president, who visited American troops in Iraq this week, for announcing that a U.S. force would remain there. The White House referred questions to the Pentagon. On Monday, he said he was "slowly" pulling troops out. Shanahan, who spoke before Trump's comments on the military, limited his remarks to the Pentagon's cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security on border issues. Now he said the militant group is "mostly done", although the network, with its hard-line extremist ideology, continues to inspire sympathizers and has affiliated groups in other parts of the world.

On Monday, Trump said on Fox News that he had conciliated Senator Lindsey Graham about Graham's concern regarding a rapid withdrawal, asserting, "I said, 'You know, I never said that I'm going to rush out.'" He added that the USA could still fight ISIS despite pulling out from Syria, positing, "You can do two things at once".

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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