04:15 GMT21 February 2020
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    The US is preparing to withdraw troops from Syria, US President Donald Trump announced on Twitter Wednesday. Pentagon officials and White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders later confirmed the plan.

    The number of US troops that will be withdrawn is unclear. The New York Times cited unnamed officials saying that a "full withdrawal" is imminent, while the Wall Street Journal reported that the withdrawal will be from the northeastern region of the country.

    Pulling US troops out of Syria was "a big part" of Trump's presidential campaign, investigative journalist and member of the Syria Solidarity Movement Rick Sterling told Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear. "I think we should support it very strongly just as we can see that the neoconservatives and the ultra hawks are opposing and resisting it; Lindsey Graham calling it a ‘colossal error' and other people weighing in."

    ​"My theory is that by pulling 2,200 [troops] out in Northeastern Syria, that's going to boost ISIS' [Daesh] ability to come back," Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told Fox News. He added that the US-backed Kurdish fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) would feel "abandoned" and that the move "is an Obama-like decision."

    Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) tweeted that it was a "major blunder," arguing that it will turn "Syria over to Israel's greatest enemies" and benefit "Iran and Hezbollah."

    "I spoke with US President Donald Trump [on Monday] and yesterday with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who told me that it was the president's intention to withdraw their forces from Syria and made it clear that they had other ways to express their influence in the arena," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement. "We will study the timetable, the mode of operation and of course the implications for us. In any case, we will take care to protect Israel's security and to protect ourselves from that arena."

    "The Syrian military has S-300 anti-aircraft batteries now, and that is gonna change the calculus in Israel. Those are much more effective than the S-200 that are decades old that Syria has been using up ‘til now," Sterling told Loud & Clear hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou.

    That makes it more difficult for Israeli aircraft to conduct strikes in the country.

    "Of course, Donald Trump back in March of 2018 said that we were gonna be out of Syria ‘very soon.' What happened after that was within the next week there was a supposed chemical weapons incident, and all the talk about withdrawing troops was forgotten," Sterling said.

    "What's going to happen in the coming days and weeks is gonna be very interesting. It won't be surprising if there's some sensational incidents. And already, right out of the gates, we're seeing the neoconservatives, the ultra hawks and forces like Benjamin Netanyahu as well, who are gonna be pushing back hard against this decision."

    Not everyone working within the halls of power in Washington is against the decision, however. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) said he "strongly" agrees "with the President's decision to withdraw US troops from Syria."

    "Congress never authorized the US to go to war in Syria. While going after terrorists is authorized, both the Obama and Trump Administrations went far beyond the congressionally authorized use of force against terrorists," Lieu said.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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    neoconservative, US military, Syrian war, Syria
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