US' sudden withdrawal from Syria proves breaking point for defence chief James Mattis

File photo of US Defense Secretary James Mattis looking at US President Donald Trump as he speaks during a meeting with Medal of Honor recipients in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, US on March 24, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON - United States President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw American troops from Syria proved to be the straw that broke the camel's back for Defence Secretary James Mattis, who resigned on principle over his differences with the President on Thursday evening (Dec 20).

"Because you have the right to have a secretary of defence whose views are better aligned with yours... I believe it is right for me to step down from my position," said Mr Mattis in a resignation letter dated a day after the President, in a shock Twitter announcement, said he had ordered a full, rapid withdrawal of more than 2,000 US troops in Syria.

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