December 19, 2018 / 3:42 PM / 5 months ago

Republican Senator Graham says Syria withdrawal would be 'a mistake'

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) speaks to reporters after attending a closed-door briefing, on the death of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, by Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Gina Haspel at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., December 4, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a frequent defender of the president, said a decision by President Donald Trump to withdraw troops from Syria would be “a mistake”.

“An American withdrawal at this time would be a big win for ISIS, Iran, Bashar al Assad of Syria, and Russia. I fear it will lead to devastating consequences for our nation, the region, and throughout the world,” Graham said in a statement. “It will make it more difficult to recruit future partners willing to confront radical Islam. It will also be seen by Iran and other bad actors as a sign of American weakness in the efforts to contain Iranian expansion.”

The United States is considering a total withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria as it winds up its campaign to retake all of the territory once held by Islamic State, U.S. officials said on Wednesday.

Reporting by Ginger Gibson; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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