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Iran Press TV

Hawkish US senator warns Trump against Syria troop withdrawal

Iran Press TV

Tue Apr 3, 2018 10:12AM

Hawkish US Senator Lindsey Graham has warned President Donald Trump against pulling American forces from Syria, saying it would lead to a re-emergence of the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group and increased Iranian influence over the Syrian government.

"It'd be the single worst decision the president could make," Graham, a Republican member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in an interview with Fox News.

"We got ISIL (Daesh) on the ropes. You want to let 'em off the ropes, remove American soldiers," Graham said.

Trump announced on Thursday that he wants to withdraw US troops from Syria, complaining that Washington has wasted trillions of dollars in Middle East wars.

But Trump's policy shift appears to put the president at odds with US military officials, who see the fight against Daesh as far from complete.

The US has reportedly more than 2,000 troops stationed in eastern Syria, in addition to several thousand others in the Arab country's north.

A senior official in the Trump administration told Reuters that US military advisers believe American troops need to stay in Syria in small numbers for at least two more years.

Trump is unhappy with the advice, but it is unclear if he will actually order a troop withdrawal, the official said.

Graham, in the television interview, echoed White House advisers' concerns about an early pullout. "This is a disaster in the making," he said.

"There are over 3,000 ISIL fighters still roaming around Syria," Graham said. "If we withdrew our troops anytime soon, ISIL would come back, the war between Turkey and the Kurds would get out of hand, and you'd be giving Damascus to the Iranians without an American presence."

The Syrian Foreign Ministry has on several occasions written to the UN, complaining that the US is flagrantly violating the sovereignty of Syria by targeting residential neighborhoods.

The US also supports militants fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and has directly targeted Syrian military positions.

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