U.S. will gradually pull troops from Syria over 4 month period

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The official, speaking on condition of anonymity to reporters in Rio de Janeiro as Netanyahu continues his state visit to Brazil, said the premier made the request during a recent phone call with Trump, after the USA leader announced plans to remove troops from the war-torn Arab country.

Arab states, including some that once backed rebels against President Bashar al-Assad, are seeking to reconcile with him after decisive gains by his forces in the war, aiming to expand their clout in Syria at the expense of non-Arab Turkey and Iran.

"We're getting out and we're getting out smart", Trump said.

Mr Trump also pledged to protect the Kurdish population in areas under United States and Kurdish control in Syria at the moment.

The president also said Syria was "lost long ago".

He declined to be specific about how long troops would remain in Syria. In the letter, Mattis said he would step down February 28, but Trump later accelerated that to the end of the year.

US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he was not happy about the oil sales to Iran being carried out by YPG in northern Syria.

He said: "I shouldn't be popular in Europe".

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Bolton's spokesman, Garrett Marquis, said in a statement Monday that Bolton will be joined in Turkey by Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and James Jeffrey, the secretary of state's special representative for Syria engagement.

"We're slowly sending our troops back home to be with their families, while at the same time fighting ISIS remnants", Trump wrote.

The president wanted to withdraw troops from Syria for a while, saying in April, "I want to get out" at a press conference, adding that "I want to bring our troops back home".

Trump's comments come a day after Republican Sen.

On Sunday, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who is one of Trump's principal allies in an increasingly unfriendly Congress, lunched at the White House to urge a rethink on Syria. Trump went out of his way to explain his continuing commitment to the Kurds.

He tweeted, "If anybody but Donald Trump did what I did in Syria, which was an ISIS loaded mess when I became President, they would be a national hero".

The source added that Netanyahu came out of the meeting with Pompeo feeling that Israel has the ability to influence certain aspects of USA policy, and the two countries are now working on plans to make the American troop pull-out as non-disruptive for Israeli security as possible.

It is unclear whether the proof of a Kurdish pullout will deter Turkey from launching another military operation in Syria, but the government in Damascus has repeatedly said it views Turkish troops as invaders and will fight them if necessary.