Sasse on Syria withdrawal: ‘American allies will be slaughtered’

Sen. Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseAcosta on shaky ground as GOP support wavers Some good advice for Democrats to ignore in 2020 Swing-state Democrats see trouble in proposed pay hike MORE (R-Neb.) on Wednesday slammed the White House’s planned withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, saying the move puts U.S. allies at risk.

"Eight days ago the Administration called a hypothetical pullout ‘reckless.’ Today, we're leaving. The President's generals have no idea where this weak decision came from: They believe the high-fiving winners today are Iran, ISIS, and Hezbollah. The losers are Israel, humanitarian victims, and U.S. intelligence gathering," Sasse said in a statement, referring to terror group the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

"A lot of American allies will be slaughtered if this retreat is implemented."

Sasse, one of President TrumpDonald John TrumpPompeo changes staff for Russia meeting after concerns raised about top negotiator's ties: report House unravels with rise of 'Les Enfants Terrible' Ben Carson: Trump is not a racist and his comments were not racist MORE’s most vocal critics in the Senate, joined Trump ally and fellow GOP Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump digs in ahead of House vote to condemn tweet Why Trump's bigoted tropes won't work in 2020 The Memo: Toxic 2020 is unavoidable conclusion from Trump tweets MORE (S.C.) on Wednesday in blasting the Trump administration's move to pull troops out of Syria.

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In his statement, the Nebraska senator referred to comments made last week by Brett McGurk, the special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS at the State Department.

“So obviously, it would be reckless if we were just to say, well, the physical caliphate is defeated, so we can just leave now,” McGurk told reporters at the State Department then. “I think anyone who’s looked at a conflict like this would agree with that.”

U.S. troops in Syria are currently assisting a coalition of rebel groups known as the Free Syrian Army, which are one of several forces fighting ISIS in Syria.

Trump proclaimed Wednesday morning that ISIS had been defeated in Syria, accomplishing “my only reason for being there.”

Rep. Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerHouse panel advances bill to protect elections from foreign interference GOP lawmakers say Trump wrong to criticize Biden in Japan Overnight Defense: Trump officials say efforts to deter Iran are working | Trump taps new Air Force secretary | House panel passes defense bill that limits border wall funds MORE (R-Ill.), an Air Force veteran, responded by saying on Twitter, “This is simply not true.”

While ISIS's physical caliphate has crumbled, it remains active in planning attacks in the desert border region between Iraq and Syria.

The White House confirmed in a statement Wednesday after Trump’s tweet that the administration has “started returning United States troops home” but emphasized that coalition efforts in Syria would continue. It also reiterated Trump's claim that “the United States has defeated the territorial caliphate.”

“We have started returning United States troops home as we transition to the next phase of this campaign," her statement said. "The United States and our allies stand ready to re-engage at all levels to defend American interests whenever necessary, and we will continue to work together to deny radical Islamist terrorists territory, funding, support, and any means of infiltrating our borders.”