US Marines in Syria

Senator Graham: Trump Thinking ' Long And Hard' About Syria

Senior Republican says President Trump committed to defeating IS in Syria

US Marines in Syria

There are roughly 2,000 US troops in Syria (Image: US Marine Corps)

A senior Republican senator says he has been reassured by President Trump he's committed to defeating the Islamic State group before all US troops are withdrawn from Syria.

Senator Lindsey Graham had criticised Mr Trump's decision to withdraw American troops, arguing it would hurt national security.

But after a meeting at the White House he told reporters the President and his generals had a plan that made sense, hinting the pace of withdrawal would be slowed down.

The South Carolina Republican spoke to journalists outside the White House:

"We still have some differences but I will tell you that the president is thinking long and hard about Syria – how to withdraw our forces but at the same time achieve our national security interests"

"The President assured me he is going to make sure he gets the job done. He promised to destroy Isis. He's going to keep that promise."

Mr Graham alluded to a delay in withdrawal saying " I think we're slowing things down in a smart way," but he didn't give specifics or any indication that the President had changed his stance.

Lindsey Graham
The South Carolina Senator had lunch with the President (Image DVIDS)

There's been no comment so far from the White House or the President.

On December 19th, the President announced that all 2,000 US troops would be pulled out of Syria and asserted that IS had been defeated.

The move was criticised by major allies as well as members of his own party.

It's widely believed that it played a part in US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis's decision to resign his post. It's also thought top US envoy involved in the fight against IS Brett McGurk also decided to quit because of President Trump's decision.

Critics of the plan believe a US withdrawal could leave space for the Islamic State group to stage a resurgence. It would also leave US allies the Kurds more exposed to attacks.