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

Sen. Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseOvernight Health Care: Nevada union won't endorse before caucuses after 'Medicare for All' scrap | McConnell tees up votes on two abortion bills | CDC confirms 15th US coronavirus case McConnell tees up votes on two abortion bills Behind the scenes of McConnell's impeachment drama 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 TrumpCensus Bureau spends millions on ad campaign to mitigate fears on excluded citizenship question Bloomberg campaign: Primary is two-way race with Sanders Democratic senator meets with Iranian foreign minister MORE’s most vocal critics in the Senate, joined Trump ally and fellow GOP Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham warned Pentagon chief about consequences of Africa policy: report Senate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony US defense chief says Taliban deal 'looks very promising' but not without risk 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 KinzingerOne lawmaker gets engaged, another married around Valentine's Day Trump commutes sentence of ex-Illinois Gov. Blagojevich in rash of clemency orders Pentagon exodus extends 'concerning,' 'baffling' trend of acting officials in key roles 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.”