US President Donald Trump defends his decision to withdraw troops from Syria saying the battle was "lost long ago" and "besides that, we're talking about sand and death."

US President Donald Trump speaks during a Cabinet meeting on day 12 of the partial US government shutdown at the White House in Washington, US, January 2, 2019.
US President Donald Trump speaks during a Cabinet meeting on day 12 of the partial US government shutdown at the White House in Washington, US, January 2, 2019. (Reuters)

US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he was not happy about the oil sales to Iran being carried out by YPG in northern Syria, but vowed to protect the terror group.

"I didn't like the fact that they [YPG] are selling the small oil that they have to Iran," Trump said during a cabinet meeting at the White House in front of reporters.

He, however, said the US would continue to protect YPG terrorist in Syria.

The YPG is the Syrian wing of the PKK which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU. In its more than 40-year terror campaign against Turkey, PKK has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women and children.

Trump also responded to questions about the US decision to withdraw from northern Syria.

However, he did not provide a timetable for the planned military exit from Syria, which he announced last month following a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who was about to give a green light to a military operation to the terrorist in Syria.

TRT World's Yusuf Erim has more.

While Washington considers the YPG an ally in the fight against Daesh, but Turkey has repeatedly called the US stop arming the terror group to fight against another terror group.

In recent days, Trump appeared to back off from any hasty pullout and stressed that the operation would be slow. 

"We're slowly sending our troops back home to be with their families, while at the same time-fighting Isis [Daesh] remnants," he said on Twitter on Monday.

'Syria is sand and death'

Trump defended his decision to withdraw US troops from Syria, saying the battle was "lost long ago," adding, "besides that, we're talking about sand and death."

Speaking during his first Cabinet meeting of the New Year, Trump said, "we're not talking about vast wealth, we're talking about sand and death."

Source: Reuters