Headline: Trump: Iran can do whatever it wants in Syria

Senator Lindsey Graham listens during a press conference at the US Capitol in Washington DC on US President Donald Trump's decision to remove US military forces from

"We're talking about sand and death, that's what we're talking about", Trump said.

"I don't want to be in Syria", Trump said on Wednesday, while adding that "I never said we're getting out tomorrow". "We're not talking about vast wealth, we're talking about sand and death".

He said Trump reassured him that the United States' Kurdish allies would be protected.

"I think we're in a pause situation where we're re-evaluating what's the best way to achieve the president's objective of having people pay more and do more", Graham said.

Iraqi warplanes hit a meeting of leaders of the militant Islamic State group near Deir al-Zor in Syria on Monday, destroying the building they were gathered in, the military said in a statement, without giving further details about the militants targeted.

President Donald Trump will give the Pentagon about four months to withdraw the almost 2,000 military personnel stationed in Syria, The New York Times reported Monday, citing administration officials.

In the past, Trump has said he has great admiration for the Kurds, describing them as great fighters.

Syria says hundreds of US-backed Kurdish fighters have withdrawn from the city of Manbij near the border with Turkey to take position to the east of the Euphrates. "I share his goal to withdraw our forces from Syria; I just want to do it in a smart way, make sure Iran is not the big victor", Graham told reporters outside the White House.

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In a long and news-making Q&A with reporters after his remarks at a Cabinet meeting at the White House, President Donald Trump addressed the issue of Syria extensively.

Israel worries that Iran is constructing a "land bridge" connecting resources and military forces from Tehran all the way to the Mediterranean Sea through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, taking advantage of broken local governments and American retreats.

"And, at the end of the day, if we leave the Kurds and abandon them and they get slaughtered, who's going to help you in the future?" he said.

For a president who has looked to the military for affirmation throughout his campaign and presidency and boasted about stocking his Cabinet with what he called "my generals", his decision December 19 to withdraw quickly from Syria was a significant split from his military and civilian advisers.

"The president is reconsidering how we would do this", Graham said.

Much of the criticism surrounding the President's decision to withdraw troops from Syria - a move he frequently mentioned both on the campaign trail and in office - has been tied to the possibility that a lack of USA troops could allow ISIS to regain some of its strength in the region.

Two people have resigned since the decision was announced - Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and a top U.S. official in the fight against IS, Brett McGurk.

Kuwait said on Monday it expected more Arab countries to reopen embassies in Damascus in "coming days" but added that the move would need a green light from the Arab League, which suspended Syria's membership seven years ago.

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