Rand Paul praises US withdrawal from Syria

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulCNN catches heat for asking candidates about Ellen, Bush friendship at debate Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Trump isolated amid Syria furor | Pompeo, Pence to visit Turkey in push for ceasefire | Turkish troops advance in Syria | Graham throws support behind Trump's sanctions Rand Paul rips Lindsey Graham: 'Wrong about almost every foreign policy decision' MORE (R-Ky.) on Wednesday praised President TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren defends, Buttigieg attacks in debate that shrank the field Five takeaways from the Democratic debate in Ohio Democrats debate in Ohio: Who came out on top? MORE's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria.

"I am happy to see a President who can declare victory and bring our troops out of a war," Paul wrote in a tweet.

The White House said in a statement Wednesday that the U.S. has "started returning United States troops home" from Syria and claimed victory over the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

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"These victories over ISIS in Syria do not signal the end of the Global Coalition or its campaign. We have started returning United States troops home as we transition to the next phase of this campaign. The United States and our allies stand ready to re-engage at all levels to defend American interests whenever necessary," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

Trump on Twitter appeared to tout the removal of troops as he declared victory over ISIS.

Earlier Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post reported that the Trump administration would immediately begin removing 2,000 troops from northern Syria.

The decision was harshly criticized by Republicans including Rep. Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerTrump-GOP tensions over Syria show signs of easing George Conway hits Republicans for not saying Trump's name while criticizing policy GOP lawmaker says Trump shows 'weakness' in Syria MORE (Ill.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), who said in a statement that removing troops would be an "Obama-like mistake."

"Staying there is an insurance policy against the reemergence of ISIS and destruction of our Kurdish allies who fought so bravely against them," said Graham, who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee.