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Rand Paul praises US withdrawal from Syria

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulTim Scott sparks buzz in crowded field of White House hopefuls Sherrod Brown calls Rand Paul 'kind of a lunatic' for not wearing mask Overnight Health Care: WHO-backed Covax gets a boost from Moderna MORE (R-Ky.) on Wednesday praised President TrumpDonald TrumpVeteran accused in alleged border wall scheme faces new charges Arizona Republicans to brush off DOJ concern about election audit FEC drops investigation into Trump hush money payments 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 KinzingerThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Florida's restrictive voting bill signed into law Cheney fight stokes cries of GOP double standard for women Kinzinger hits GOP on 'operation #coverupJan6' over Cheney ouster plot 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.