Trump gives in to calls to slow down troop pullout from Syria
United States President Donald Trump has given in to pressure to slow down his planned troop pullout from Syria, permitting the US military four months to withdraw.
The New York Times reported the decision on Monday. Trump had initially given the American forces 30 days for the procedure.
The American president had hinted at a more extensive pullout timetable earlier on Monday, tweeting about “slowly sending our troops back home.”
Many military and Pentagon officials had sought to entirely change the president’s mind on the planned pullout. Some military officials also argue that more time is required to withdraw the troops in an “orderly” manner.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a vocal supporter of the president, met Trump on the matter on Sunday.
Graham announced that Trump had agreed to put the 30-day evacuation plan in a “pause situation” to reevaluate his decision.
Earlier on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had reportedly urged Trump to slow down the planned withdrawal.
Trump reportedly accepted Netanyahu’s request according to Israeli media sources citing an unnamed senior Israeli diplomatic official.
The news comes as Bolton is preparing to visit Turkey and Israel to discuss regional security issues in the coming days.
Two weeks ago, US President Donald Trump abruptly announced that his country had “defeated” Daesh Takfiri terrorists in Syria and would be pulling all 2,000 American forces from the country.
Many believe Trump’s decision upended a central pillar of US Middle East policy, stunning opponents and allies alike.
Speaking to The Washington Post in November, Trump had stressed that “we have reached a point where we don’t have to stay in the Middle East.”
Trump, however, refused to call for a complete withdrawal from the region, highlighting Israel’s need for US protection.
“One reason to stay is Israel,” said Trump in the interview.
“I told Bibi. And, you know, we give Israel $4.5 billion a year. And they’re doing very well defending themselves, if you take a look,” said Trump. “So that’s the way it is.”
It was not immediately clear, nevertheless, where Trump’s $4.5 billion figure came from.
As the US government is in shut down due to a dispute with Congress over the allocation of $5 billion in funds needed for Trump’s proposed southern border wall, the US enforced a whooping 10-year $38-billion aid package to Tel Aviv last October.
The aid package, which includes a record annual $3.3-billion contribution, was signed during the tenure of former US President Barack Obama in 2016 to provide Israel with free military material until 2028 as the regime’s forces continue their brutal crackdown of Palestinians protesters.