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Top Trump ally Graham calls for reversal of Syria border pullback

WASHINGTON: U S Senator Lindsey Graham, a top ally of Mr Donald Trump, said yesterday that he would be calling on Congress to reverse the President's decision to withdraw US troops from Turkey's border with Syria.

Mr Graham, chairman of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee and one of Mr Trump's most outspoken supporters on Capitol Hill, described the move as "a disaster in the making" that would be "a stain on America's honour for abandoning the Kurds".

The US pullback from key positions along Syria's northern border, announced late on Sunday, effectively abandons the Kurds, Washington's main ally in the years-old battle against the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), AFP reported.

"If this plan goes forward will introduce Senate resolution opposing and asking for reversal of this decision. Expect it will receive strong bipartisan support," Mr Graham tweeted.

In an interview with Fox News, he said: "It is never in our national security interest to abandon an ally who has helped us fight ISIS.

"This impulsive decision by the President has undone all the gains we have made, thrown the region into further chaos."

Mr Graham's criticism came after Mr Trump took to Twitter in defence of the withdrawal, saying the region would have to "figure the situation out" and that America needed to get out of "ridiculous Endless Wars".

"The Kurds fought with us, but were paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so," he said.

"They have been fighting Turkey for decades. I held off this fight for almost three years but it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home."

"Turkey, Europe, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Russia and the Kurds will now have to figure the situation out, and what they want to do with the captured ISIS fighters in their 'neighbourhood'," Mr Trump tweeted.

Meanwhile, the US began pulling troops from north-east Syria yesterday in a major policy shift, opening the way for a Turkish attack on Kurdish-led forces long allied to Washington and handing Turkey responsibility for thousands of jihadi captives, Reuters reported.

'STAB IN THE BACK'

The move was denounced as a "stab in the back" by the Kurdish-led forces.

The forces, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, accused Washington of reneging on an ally, warning it would have a "great negative" impact on the war against the militants.

"Turkey will soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into northern Syria," the White House said, after Mr Trump spoke to Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday.

"The United States Armed Forces will not support or be involved in the operation, and United States forces, having defeated the ISIS territorial 'caliphate', will no longer be in the immediate area," it added in a statement.

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