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Trump Says Syria ‘Was Lost Long Ago’: I Don’t Want to Be There Forever, ‘It’s Sand and It’s Death’

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.

After first talking about firing Gen. James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis, Trump discussed both the timeline for troop withdrawal and the fate of Kurdish allies in the region once U.S. troops leave. The issue of the potential slaughter of those allies has been a point of contention even among Trump supporters in the days following his sudden announcement of the end of U.S. intervention in the Syria conflict.

Asked about the timetable for withdrawing from Syria, Trump gave no specific timeline, but also did not back up claims made by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Sunday that he was “pausing” or slowing down. “I never said fast or slow,” he said.

“Somebody said four months, but I didn’t say that, either,” he said. “I’m getting out, we’re getting out of Syria–look, we don’t want Syria. Obama gave up Syria years ago when he didn’t violate the red line. I did when I shot fifty-nine missiles in, but that was a long time later.”

He continued with the criticism of Obama’s policy for a moment, leading to saying, “So Syria was lost long ago, it was lost long ago.”

“And besides that, we’re talking about sand and death, that’s what we’re talking about,” he said. “We’re not talking about vast wealth, we’re talking about sand and death.”

On the topic of the Kurds, Trump was somewhat critical, though not of Turkey or the likelihood Turkish forces will attempt to annihilate the Kurds.

“The Kurds, it’s every interesting, Turkey doesn’t like them, other people do,” he said. “I didn’t like the fact that they’re selling the small oil that they have to Iran, and we asked them not to sell it to Iran.”

“The Kurds, our partners, are selling oil to Iran. We’re not thrilled about that, okay? I’m not happy about it at all” said Trump.

“But we want to protect the Kurds, nevertheless, we want to protect the Kurds,” he continued. “But I don’t want to be in Syria forever. It’s sand. And it’s death.”

Trump also added that it’s “possibly true” that a “very small percentage” of ISIS may come to the United States if we stop fighting them on their turf. He said it rather dismissively, as if that percent should be seen as insignificant, despite the fact that as recently as a few weeks ago Trump used the possibility of ISIS coming to the United States as a primary rationale for building the wall.

He said “we’re killing ISIS” for Assad and Iran” and that Iran “hates ISIS more than we do.” He also said Russia “hates ISIS more than we do.”

Watch the clip above, courtesy of FOX News Channel.

[Featured image via screengrab]

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