Trump says 50 US troops removed from northern Syria

Trump says 50 US troops removed from northern Syria
© Aaron Schwartz

President TrumpDonald John TrumpButtigieg surges ahead of Iowa caucuses Biden leads among Latino Democrats in Texas, California Kavanaugh hailed by conservative gathering in first public speech since confirmation MORE said Wednesday that 50 U.S. soldiers had been removed ahead of an anticipated Turkish offensive in northern Syria.

"Fighting between various groups that has been going on for hundreds of years. USA should never have been in Middle East. Moved our 50 soldiers out," Trump tweeted.

"Turkey MUST take over captured ISIS fighters that Europe refused to have returned. The stupid endless wars, for us, are ending!" he added. 

“The United States has spent EIGHT TRILLION DOLLARS fighting and policing in the Middle East. Thousands of our Great Soldiers have died or been badly wounded. Millions of people have died on the other side,” he said in a subsequent post.

“GOING INTO THE MIDDLE EAST IS THE WORST DECISION EVER MADE IN THE HISTORY OF OUR COUNTRY! We went to war under a false & now disproven premise, WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION. There were NONE! Now we are slowly & carefully bringing our great soldiers & military home. Our focus is on the BIG PICTURE! THE USA IS GREATER THAN EVER BEFORE!” he added.

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The White House announced late Sunday that Turkey would be "moving forward with its long-planned operation into Northern Syria" and that U.S. troops "will no longer be in the immediate area." 

Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike have criticized the decision, with many calling it a national security risk that could also harm U.S. allies in the region. 

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP eager for report on alleged FBI surveillance abuse Johnson opens door to subpoenaing whistleblower, Schiff, Bidens Overnight Defense: Erdoğan gets earful from GOP senators | Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract decision in court | Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families MORE (R-S.C.), for example, ramped up his criticism of the U.S. troop pullout, telling Axios late Tuesday that Trump is putting the nation and his presidency at risk.

"I think he's putting the nation at risk, and I think he's putting his presidency at risk," Graham, a key Trump ally, said. "And I hope he will adjust his policies like he did before. That would actually be a sign of real leadership."

Graham added that the move is "worse than when Obama left Iraq, because you've got so much information as to what happens."

The Hill has reached out to the Pentagon for comment. 

Updated at 8:18 a.m.