TEHRAN (Press Shia) – President Donald Trump has begun what will be a total withdrawal of US troops from Syria, declaring they have succeeded in their mission to defeat Daesh and were no longer needed in the country.
“They’re all coming back and they’re coming back now. We won,” Trump declared on Wednesday in a video posted on Twitter.
News of a full withdrawal drew immediate criticism from some of Trump’s fellow Republicans, who said that leaving strengthened the hand of Russia and Iran.
But Trump said that he considered the mission in Syria over given Daesh territorial losses.
The White House declined to offer a timeline for withdrawal.
One US official said Washington aimed to withdraw troops within 60 to 100 days and said the US State Department was evacuating all its personnel in Syria within 24 hours. A second official said they could leave even sooner.
Some of Trump’s Republican allies in Congress railed against the pullout decision. US Senator Lindsey Graham, often a Trump ally but generally a foreign policy hawk, said a withdrawal would have “devastating consequences” for the United States in the region and throughout the world.
The surprise decision also raised eyebrows abroad.
A British defense minister said he strongly disagreed with Trump that Daesh had been defeated in Syria. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would study the decision and would ensure its own security.
In Russia, TASS news agency quoted the Foreign Ministry as saying withdrawing US troops from Syria created prospects for a political settlement.