The Latest: Trump’s Syria move drawing some GOP criticism
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump and Syria (all times local):
President Donald Trump’s decision to pull U.S. troops from northeastern Syria, essentially abandoning the Syria Kurd fighters who fought alongside U.S. against the Islamic State group, is drawing criticism from Republicans on Capitol Hill.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of Trump’s closest allies, says Trump’s decision will allow IS to remerge. The South Carolina Republican says Trump will “be held accountable.”
Graham says Trump’s decision “is against all sound military advice.” Graham says he hopes Trump “will reconsider, stop the bloodshed and reset the table before it’s too late.”
Graham says that if Trump continues along those lines, “then our foreign policy is in a very bad spot in the Middle East and to those who think the Mideast doesn’t matter to America, remember 9/11 we had that same attitude on 9/10 2001.”
Another Republican senator, Florida’s Marco Rubio, tells reporters that he doesn’t know what can be done to undo the harm that’s resulted from the withdrawal. Rubio says “there are some mistakes that are not easy to reverse. And there are some that are irreversible.”
President Donald Trump says U.S. troops are “largely out” of a region of Syria where Turkish forces are attacking Kurdish fighters.
Turkey launched a military operation against Kurdish fighters allied with the U.S. after Trump pulled troops from the region this month. As he met Wednesday with Italy’s president, Trump said: “If Syria wants to fight to take back their land, that’s up to them and Turkey.”
Trump adds: “There’s a lot of sand that they can play with.”
But as Trump defends removing troops from northeastern Syria, he’s talking up his recent decision to send more troops to Saudi Arabia to help the kingdom defend against Iran.
Trump says the U.S. is sending missiles and “great power” to the Saudis, and adds: “They’re paying for that.”