Trump makes surprise Christmas visit to Iraq to meet with troops

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President Trump made a surprise visit Wednesday to USA troops in Iraq, his first visit to forces serving in a war zone.

They travelled there unannounced "late on Christmas night" to thank troops for "their service, their success and their sacrifice", it said.

While visiting troops in western Iraq on Wednesday, Trump said that because of the military's gains against the militant group, US forces can return home to their families.

"Look, I think it's important that the president goes and visits the troops, but he's doing this backwards", Eoyang said. The president ordered all 2,000 USA forces withdrawn from Syria last week, declaring that the American mission of destroying the ISIS caliphate was accomplished.

Turkey views the Kurdish-led force US troops have relied on to roll back the Islamic State in Syria as enemies, and Pentagon officials worry Turkish forces will massacre the Kurds while failing to prevent a resurgence of ISIS.

Mattis resigned in the wake of the Syria decision, writing in his resignation letter that he and Trump disagree in their worldview and that the president's policies threaten the alliance structure the United States helped construct in the aftermath of World War II.

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The unannounced trip marked Mr. Trump's first visit to Iraq, as well as his first visit to a combat zone as commander-in-chief. He said some troops "can now return home to their families". Although Mattis planned to leave in February, Trump on Sunday dismissed him early, demanding the retired Marine Corps general leave the Pentagon by year end.

Trump has also faced negative headlines for wanting to pull troops from Afghanistan where they have been since 2001.

More than 5,000 American troops are deployed in Iraq - the lowest number since a US -led coalition invaded the Middle Eastern country in 2003. He did not have to serve during the Vietnam War after being diagnosed with bone spurs in his heels. The US presence in Syria was not meant to be "open-ended", he said, adding that other wealthy nations should pay for rebuilding Syria.

Trump added that if needed, the US can attack IS "so fast and so hard" that they "won't know what the hell happened".

The first indication Trump was visiting with the troops overseas came Wednesday morning as aviation experts noted interesting activity with a mysterious US government plane.

It is also worth noting that Trump has not tweeted for over 17 hours.

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