Trump may hit pause on Syria troop withdrawal, defends pullout

CNN's Barbara Starr reports.

Posted: Jan 2, 2019 7:24 AM
Updated: Jan 2, 2019 7:24 AM

President Donald Trump will give the Pentagon about four months to withdraw the nearly 2,000 military personnel stationed in Syria, The New York Times reported Monday, citing administration officials.

Trump told Lt. Gen. Paul J. LaCamera, the head of US forces fighting ISIS in the region, during his trip to Iraq last week that troops could have several months to ensure a succinct departure, two US officials told the Times.

A Pentagon spokesman, Cmdr. Sean Robertson, told the Times on Monday, "I'll let the president's words speak for themselves."

The White House did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment on the Times' story.

CNN has previously reported that a withdrawal of troops from Syria would take months because US commanders have said they need to move slowly in order to protect the troops.

Earlier Monday, Garrett Marquis, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, told CNN that the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford, and Ambassador James Jeffrey, the special representative for Syria engagement, would accompany national security adviser John Bolton on a trip to Israel and Turkey early next month to discuss the withdrawal.

"Ambassador John Bolton will travel to Israel and Turkey in early January to discuss the deliberate and coordinated withdrawal of U.S. 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.

Trump defended his decision to withdraw US troops from Syria in a series of tweets on Monday, saying he is "just doing what I said I was going to do" during his presidential campaign.

"... I campaigned on getting out of Syria and other places. Now when I start getting out the Fake News Media, or some failed Generals who were unable to do the job before I arrived, like to complain about me & my tactics, which are working," Trump wrote on Twitter. "Just doing what I said I was going to do!"

The President said in another tweet Monday morning, "If anybody but Donald Trump did what I did in Syria, which was an ISIS loaded mess when I became President, they would be a national hero."

Trump's comments come a day after Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a close ally of the President, told reporters at the White House that Trump will reevaluate the withdrawal plan for Syria. The South Carolina senator told CNN later Sunday that the President had not reversed his Syria orders.

On Sunday, Graham said that during the President's surprise trip to Iraq last week, commanders on the ground informed Trump that ISIS is not "completely destroyed," which he said was an "eye-opening" experience for the commander in chief.

Still, Graham said, Trump remains committed to bringing American service members home, even as he continues to weigh the greater regional dynamics.

West Lafayette
Cloudy
75° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 75°
Kokomo
Cloudy
70° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 70°
Rensselaer
Cloudy
66° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 66°
Fowler
Cloudy
75° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 75°
Williamsport
Cloudy
69° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 69°
Crawfordsville
Cloudy
68° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 68°
Frankfort
Cloudy
68° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 68°
Delphi
Cloudy
70° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 70°
Monticello
Cloudy
70° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 70°
Logansport
Cloudy
68° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 68°
More quiet weather with cooler, drier air
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 751242

Reported Deaths: 13795
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1032931788
Lake556911009
Allen41692692
St. Joseph36990565
Hamilton36588417
Elkhart29398461
Tippecanoe22901226
Vanderburgh22556400
Porter19356325
Johnson18471389
Hendricks17682317
Clark13226195
Madison13149344
Vigo12614253
LaPorte12419221
Monroe12207176
Delaware10966198
Howard10321225
Kosciusko9630121
Hancock8576146
Bartholomew8169157
Warrick7860156
Floyd7811180
Grant7242179
Wayne7162201
Boone6966103
Morgan6761141
Dubois6218118
Marshall6209116
Cass6016110
Henry5900110
Dearborn589878
Noble581488
Jackson509076
Shelby501496
Lawrence4742122
Gibson444894
Clinton442355
Harrison441875
DeKalb439885
Montgomery438090
Whitley406543
Huntington402681
Steuben400159
Miami395269
Jasper388054
Knox375991
Putnam372960
Wabash361983
Ripley347170
Adams345555
Jefferson335886
White331953
Daviess3033100
Wells295281
Decatur289992
Greene286885
Fayette284864
Posey273835
LaGrange273072
Scott270156
Clay267148
Washington246036
Randolph244783
Jennings235349
Spencer234531
Starke228058
Fountain220948
Sullivan214643
Owen211858
Fulton202942
Jay200932
Carroll193620
Orange188255
Perry187237
Rush175926
Vermillion174844
Franklin170335
Tipton166246
Parke149416
Pike138234
Blackford136232
Pulaski120647
Newton113936
Brown104243
Crawford102516
Benton101714
Martin91715
Warren84015
Switzerland8148
Union72810
Ohio57911
Unassigned0420

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events