Wednesday, 20 March, 2019

We'll Come Back to Syria If We Have to

President of Iraq Barham Ahmed Salih attends an audience with Pope Francis at the Apostolic Palace We'll Come Back to Syria If We Have to: Trump
Jeannette Daniel | 06 February, 2019, 08:28

The Pentagon's Office of Inspector General released a report Monday that said ISIS is likely to try to leverage the withdrawal of usa troops from Syria as a "victory", CNN reported.

"ISIS was able to rise from the thoroughly defeated ashes of al-Qaeda in Iraq, and I don't want to be making the same statement six months from now that we bugged out of Syria unwisely and that ISIS has re-emerged from the defeated ashes of ISIS in Syria", he said, adding,"I think it would just be tragic if we bugged out, left the Kurds who, by and large, have done the fighting and have defeated the ISIS caliphate, the territorial caliphate and ISIS, if we just abandoned them to the mercies - and I use that term loosely - of Russian Federation and Iran and, possibly, Turkey".

"I was not aware of the specific announcement", Votel told the committee.

Several of Trump's fellow Republicans strongly disagreed with his plans to withdraw 2,000 United States troops from Syria on the grounds that militants no longer pose a threat.

"Trump did not ask us to keep USA troops to watch Iran", Salih said at a forum in Baghdad. "But we're-yeah, they'll be coming back in a matter of time".

There have been no reports to date of US troops leaving Syria.

The 18-page report to the U.N. Security Council, seen by Reuters on Tuesday, described ISIS as 'by far the most ambitious worldwide terrorist group, and the one most likely to conduct a large-scale, complex attack in the near future'.

Trump has indicated he wants to bring home some or all of the 14,000 American troops in Afghanistan, and a USA envoy is having talks with Taliban insurgents even though they refuse to deal with the country's government.

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Officials said that overall, about 2,000 ISIS militants remain in Syria.

The troop withdrawals vote came as part of a broader debate over USA policy in the Middle East, and legislation that would specifically allow localities to refuse to do business with organizations that boycott Israel.

American troops have been based in Iraq since the 2003 US-led invasion, which toppled dictator Saddam Hussein.

Iraq announced the fight against ISIS was over on December 9, 2017, after the group seized the country's second-largest city Mosul, as well as one-third of the rest of the country, before being toppled by an Iraqi military campaign that was backed by the US -led coalition. He added that details about the pace of that withdrawal are now being developed with US allies and partners.

But the group remains active and still numbers in the thousands in Syria and Iraq, and it is probably adding about 50 new members a month, the Defense Department inspector general report says.

"ISIS is regenerating key functions and capabilities more quickly in Iraq than in Syria, but absent sustained [counterterrorism] pressure, ISIS could likely resurge in Syria within six to twelve months and regain limited territory", the report adds.

Under questioning from Senator Elizabeth Warren of MA, a Democratic presidential contender, Votel said that "we have no observations of our own" to confirm an Associated Press report of torture and abuse in detention centers in Yemen operated by the United Arab Emirates. We've beaten them and we've beaten them badly.

He gave the committee assurances that the USA will seek to protect the US -backed Syrian Democratic Forces, who have led the fight against ISIS in Syria, and the Syrian-Kurdish fighters within the SDF.

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