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A Month After Trump Declared Victory in Syria, US Soldiers Killed

As many as 4 US service members may have been killed in suicide bomber attack

(Newser) - It may have been the deadliest attack against US forces in Syria yet: A suicide bomber detonated an explosive vest amid international forces on a routine patrol in the northern town of Manbij Wednesday. It's not yet clear how many US service members were killed; per Bloomberg , the Trump... More »

Pentagon Makes Surprise Announcement on Syria

The withdrawal has begun

(Newser) - The first US troops have begun to leave Syria. The Pentagon is providing few details, however, except to say the US-led coalition had "begun the process of our deliberate withdrawal." Coalition spokesman Col. Sean Ryan declined to provide numbers or timetables regarding the approximately 2,000 US troops... More »

Pompeo: Obama Made a Mess of the Mideast

Says policies led to rise of ISIS, problems with Iran

(Newser) - Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a scathing rebuke of the Obama administration's Mideast policies Thursday, denouncing the former president for "misguided" and "wishful" thinking that diminished America's role in the region, harmed its longtime friends, and emboldened its main foe: Iran. In a speech to... More »

Turkish Leader to Bolton: You Made 'Grave Mistake'

Erdogan says US official erred in demanding safety of Kurds in Syria

(Newser) - The planned US withdrawal from Syria just got even thornier. Turkey's president criticized national security adviser John Bolton's comments on the issue and didn't meet with Bolton in a move widely perceived as a diplomatic snub. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan took issue with Bolton's weekend statement... More »

US Teacher Who Sent Resume to ISIS Is Captured in Syria

US-backed Kurds say Warren Christopher Clark, 34, was caught, along with a 2nd American

(Newser) - At least one American—a former substitute teacher from Texas—has been captured with ISIS in Syria, say Kurdish forces. The Kurds say they captured a second American as well, but the citizenship of that man is much iffier, reports the New York Times . In a news release , the US-backed... More »

Bolton: US Will Stay in Syria as Long as It Takes

He says there's no longer a fixed timetable

(Newser) - The timeline for the withdrawal of American troops from Syria has gone from 30 days to four months and now to no fixed date, according to John Bolton. He said "certain objectives" must be met before an American withdrawal could happen, the Washington Post reports. Bolton said there was... More »

Days After Mattis Leaves, Another Resignation at the Pentagon

'Time to return to private sector:' Rear Adm. Kevin Sweeney is out as chief of staff

(Newser) - Just days after Jim Mattis' last day as Defense secretary, another member of the Pentagon's top brass has abruptly stepped down, reports CNN . Defense Department chief of staff Kevin Sweeney, a retired rear admiral who has served in his current role since January 2017, is stepping down. "I'... More »

Trump Pushes Back After John Kelly's Surprise Interview

The idea of an 'all concrete wall' remains very much alive, he says

(Newser) - "To be honest, it's not a wall." So said outgoing Chief of Staff John Kelly in a surprise weekend interview with the Los Angeles Times that President Trump apparently doesn't agree with. For context, Kelly said that while Trump still uses the word "wall,"... More »

Sen. Graham Had Quite the Lunch With Trump

Seems the US policy on Syria is changing

(Newser) - Seems Sen. Lindsey Graham had a productive lunch with the president. Emerging from a White House meal Sunday, he said President Trump is putting the brakes on US troop withdrawal from Syria: "I think we're slowing things down in a smart way," he said, per CNN . "... More »

Sen. Graham Uses Language We Won't Print

And more around the Sunday dial

(Newser) - Dana Bash's eyes widened in shock, and it's little wonder. Interviewing Sen. Lindsey Graham on CNN's State of the Union, the host asked whether President Trump would be at fault if the Syria troop pullout ended up empowering ISIS. "Everything we're dealing with today falls... More »

Assad Gives Iraq Greenlight to Strike ISIS Within Syria

Region is readying for coming US pullout of troops in Syria

(Newser) - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday authorized Iraqi forces to attack the Islamic State inside Syria without waiting for permission from authorities in Damascus, state news agency SANA said, as the two allies coordinate their fight against extremists ahead of a planned US withdrawal from Syria. The announcement highlights the... More »

With Trump Pulling Out, Russia and Turkey Schmooze

They plan to focus on the 'terrorist threat'

(Newser) - Top Russian and Turkish ministers agreed during a meeting in Moscow on Saturday to maintain cooperation in northern Syria as US forces prepare to withdraw and Turkey threatens to launch a military operation against US-backed Kurdish forces controlling nearly a third of the country, the AP reports. Russian Defense Minister... More »

Reports Clarify Mystery Attack Over Syria

Seems Israeli warplanes are behind it

(Newser) - Israeli warplanes flying over Lebanon fired missiles toward areas near the Syrian capital of Damascus late Tuesday, hitting an arms depot and wounding three soldiers, Syrian state media reported, saying that most of the missiles were shot down by air defense units. The report, quoting an unnamed military official, identified... More »

Mattis Not Leaving in February

The defense secretary is leaving Jan. 1, Trump says

(Newser) - President Trump announced on Sunday that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will now leave his post on Jan. 1, tweeting that deputy Pentagon chief Patrick Shanahan will take over as acting secretary to cover the accelerated departure, the AP reports. The move comes just three days after Mattis resigned in protest... More »

Turkey Masses Troops on Syrian Border Area Held by US

Report: 50 vehicles with troops and equipment crossed into Syria overnight

(Newser) - Turkey is massing troops near a town in northern Syria held by a US-backed and Kurdish-led force, a war monitor and Turkish media said Sunday. The buildup comes even though Turkey said it would delay a promised offensive in eastern Syria in the wake of President Trump's decision to... More »

Another Official Quits Over Trump's Syria Move

Brett McGurk is out

(Newser) - Brett McGurk, the US envoy to the global coalition fighting the Islamic State group, has resigned in protest over President Donald Trump's abrupt decision to withdraw US troops from Syria, a US official says, joining Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in an administration exodus of experienced national security figures. Only... More »

Trump Gets Skewered by Normally Loyal Fox Show

'He just refounded ISIS,' declares Brian Kilmeade in regard to Syria decision

(Newser) - Donald Trump once called Barack Obama the "founder of ISIS." On Friday, a usually staunch supporter of Trump turned the slam around on the president in surprising fashion. While discussing Trump's decision to pull US troops out of Syria , Brian Kilmeade of Fox & Friends told press... More »

Why Mattis' Resignation 'Puts Trump's Presidency in Peril'

Pundits weigh in

(Newser) - Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will step down from his post by the end of February, and his resignation letter made clear that his lack of alignment with President Trump drove the decision. Here's how the news is being received by pundits:
  • Fred Kaplan, Slate : Kaplan takes issue with Trump'
... More »

Putin Praises US Move: 'On This, Donald Is Right'

Russian leader talks about Syria in his annual news conference, also warns about nukes

(Newser) - Russia's Vladimir Putin answered questions at his annual marathon news conference Thursday, and President Trump was a key topic. Putin delivered both praise and criticism, with two subjects generating the most attention:
  • Praise: Putin loves Trump's controversial decision to withdraw US troops from Syria. "On this, Donald
... More »

A Trump Tweet About Syria, Then Conflicting Reports

Troops are coming home, but to what extent hasn't been confirmed

(Newser) - "We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency," Trump tweeted Wednesday. And though his statement ends there, the implications don't. The Wall Street Journal broke the news that the US is planning an "abrupt reversal of the American... More »

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