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Trump forces defense secretary Mattis to step down two months early

Donald Trump on Sunday announced he would replace Defense Secretary Jim Mattis with his deputy Patrick Shanahan, days after the outgoing Pentagon chief quit while citing key policy differences with the US president. Trump last week ordered a complete troop pullout from Syria, asserting that the Islamic State group had been defeated, as well as a significant withdrawal from Afghanistan. Analysts said the momentous reversal of years of US foreign policy will leave the war-torn regions at risk of continued and potentially heightened bloodshed. Mattis, 68, was one of Trump's first cabinet picks and has spent nearly two years at the Pentagon. In his resignation letter Mattis made clear that Trump's world view was irreconcilable with his own.

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