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

Sen. Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseHouse Republican urges Pompeo to take steps to limit misinformation from China on coronavirus How much damage? The true cost of the Senate's coronavirus relief bill Senate rejects GOP attempt to change unemployment benefits in coronavirus stimulus bill 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 TrumpWith VP pick, Biden can't play small ball in a long ball world Coronavirus hits defense contractor jobs Wake up America, your country doesn't value your life MORE’s most vocal critics in the Senate, joined Trump ally and fellow GOP Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSunday shows preview: Lawmakers, state governors talk coronavirus, stimulus package and resources as pandemic rages on Campaigns pivot toward health awareness as races sidelined by coronavirus UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tests positive for coronavirus 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 KinzingerLawmakers urge EU to sanction Putin associate for election interference Blagojevich calls himself a 'Trumpocrat,' praises Trump after release from prison Sanders slams Trump pardons as part of 'broken and racist criminal justice system' 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.”