Trump defends Syria move at rally: 'Bring our troops back home'

Trump defends Syria move at rally: 'Bring our troops back home'
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpPelosi arrives in Jordan with bipartisan congressional delegation Trump says his Doral resort will no longer host G-7 after backlash CNN's Anderson Cooper mocks WH press secretary over Fox News interview MORE used a portion of his campaign rally Thursday night to defend his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria, underscoring the level of backlash he has received from members of both parties over the move.

Trump argued during free-wheeling remarks in Minneapolis that the U.S. could "take a victory" by removing soldiers, despite pushback for withdrawing troops ahead of a Turkish military offensive that has targeted U.S.-backed Kurdish forces.

"Turkey is right now waging a very tough campaign against the Kurds. We got along with the Kurds, we helped the Kurds and don't forget, they're also fighting for their land ... but they're fighting," Trump said.

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The president added that one option the U.S. had was to "bring our troops back home."

"We don't have any soldiers there because we left, we won, we left, take a victory United States," he said. "Bring our troops back home."

He later lamented how long U.S. troops had been involved in military conflicts overseas.

"We were supposed to be in Syria for 30 days, we've now been there for 10 years. We were supposed to be in Afghanistan for a short period of time, we're now going to be there for close to 19 years," he said.

"It's time to bring them home, we've done our job," he added. 

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."

Trump tweeted this week that the U.S. removed 50 troops from the region, relocating them to other outposts.

The Turkish military has since begun carrying out attacks against Kurdish forces, with dozens of casualties reported this week and thousands in Syria fleeing after the military campaign began.

Trump's move was met with bipartisan criticism, with lawmakers saying it essentially paved the way for Turkey's incursion into northern Syria that is targeting Syrian Kurdish forces who had been instrumental for years in the U.S. fight against terror.

Lawmakers argued that the move put U.S. national security and allies at risk. 

Meanwhile, a Syrian Kurdish official slammed what they called a U.S. "betrayal" in a Washington Post op-ed