President says the Mexican border is unprotected by our laws, says he wants to pull USA troops from Syria. The United States' mission to defeat the Islamic State terrorist group in Syria is almost completed, he told reporters on Tuesday.
"We are in Syria to fight ISIS".
In a statement that appeared to contradict previous suggestions that the USA military would remain in Syria indefinitely to battle the remnants of the Islamic State militant group (ISIS), Trump said Thursday that it was time "other people" handled the jihadi threat.
It remains unclear exactly how this would unfold and how numerous approximately 2,000 United States troops in Syria would return, given that one of their main objectives was training Syrian Democratic Forces fighters instrumental in the defeat of ISIS.
Trump also repeated a claim he has made in recent weeks that the United States had spent $7 trillion in the Middle East since 2001 - a figure that has been discredited - and had received "nothing" in return. "Let the other people take care of it now", he vowed, in a speech.
But he wasn't deterred from his position that United States troops must leave soon.
Many have warned that a premature USA withdrawal from Syria would cede the country to Iran and Russian Federation, which have supported Syrian President Bashar Assad.
A senior Syrian Kurdish official said Trump's comments on wanting to withdraw from Syria came at an "inappropriate time" as Islamic State militants re-emerge in eastern Syria and amid threats from Turkey.
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USA officials and foreign governments have been concerned that without a continued American military presence, IS could re-constitute itself or others could fill the void.
The general was joined by the U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Mark Green and the Special Envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS Brett McGurk - and all three discussed the importance of their agencies' work to ensure the defeat of ISIS as a key U.S. national security concern.
But questions remain over a US$200 million U.S. pledge to pay for this endeavour, and Trump has publicly suggested that Gulf allies like Saudi Arabia should step up to pay.
"Saudi Arabia is very interested in our decision, and I said, 'well you want us to stay, maybe you're going to have to pay, '" he told reporters at the White House.
Defence Secretary James Mattis told him that the number of U.S. forces was already being reduced and that a complete withdrawal threatened gains made by the USA and its allies, the senior administration official was cited by NBC as saying.
Israeli officials fear the emboldened front risks a major regional war - fears that were born out in February, when Israel shot down an Iranian drone in its airspace, then retaliated with air strikes against Iranian assets in Syria and lost a jet in the process.
Washington is a bitter foe of Iran's and has criticised Russia's support for a regime accused of slaughtering and starving civilians - and of using banned chemical weapons.
But Pentagon officials have cautioned Trump not to allow for the creation of yet another vacuum in Syria, where forces hostile to the USA and its allies could quickly fill any void left by the Americans. Waning U.S. influence also could expand Iran's reach through militias and terrorist training.
USA reinforcements arrived in Manbij in recent days, an apparent sign that, for now at least, they will stay as a counterweight to the Turkish moves.