Islamic State Will Lose Territory in Iraq, Syria

Islamic State Will Lose Territory in Iraq, Syria

Islamic State Will Lose Territory in Iraq, Syria

"I was not aware of the specific announcement".

"We were not, I was not consulted", Votel responded.

He described Trump's controversial order in December to withdraw all 2,000 USA troops to Syria as "essentially a tactical change" and not a shift in commitments.

Trump's Syria withdrawal has fueled rare vocal opposition from within his own Republican party.

Warnings by Pompeo and others that Islamic State remained a risky threat fly in the face of Trump's December declaration that the militants had been defeated and the United States would withdraw its roughly 2,000 us troops from Syria. As his economic advisers work to complete a trade deal with China, Trump said any agreement "must include real, structural change to end unfair trade practices, reduce our chronic trade deficit, and protect American jobs". "The coalition's hard-won battlefield gains can only be secured by maintaining a vigilant offensive against a now largely dispersed and disaggregated ISIS that retains leaders, fighters, facilitators and a profane ideology that fuels their efforts". "Today, we have liberated virtually all of that territory from the grip of these bloodthirsty killers".

Gen. Joseph Votel, the head of Central Command, made the assertion in a written statement to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

But the president also said there will always be "sick" and "demented" people in the region, "no matter how well we do militarily".

Likewise, SASC ranking member, Sen. Gen. James Hecker, vice director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff said the withdrawal means "it is going to be hard to keep up the pressure" on IS.

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"I don't think it is particularly useful in monitoring Iranian activists outside of Iraq or Syria", said David Witty, a retired colonel in the US Army Special Forces.

But the one-day event did not immediately produce major announcements and USA leaders were partly focused on domestic priorities, with Trump using the occasion to vow a hard line on immigration and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo taking unsubtle digs at previous president Barack Obama.

Top Donald Trump administration officials indicated today that United States bases in Iraq would have little role in monitoring Iran-backed proxies after the president vowed in a TV interview that American troops would stay in the country to "watch" Iranian forces. Turkey sees the forces as an offshoot of Kurdish rebels inside Turkey. "That's may biggest fear, and I believe the Turks are waiting".

"The target was already on USA forces in the region", said Phillip Smyth, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy who tracks Iranian proxy groups.

A USA -led coalition has eliminated some 99 percent of the territory in Syria and Iraq that the Islamic State, or ISIS, once claimed as its so-called caliphate. "They love it", said Sen.

U.S. forces withdrew from Iraq in 2011, but returned in 2014 at the invitation of the government to help battle ISIS after it seized vast areas in the north and west of the country, including Iraq's second largest city, Mosul.

The measure combines several legislative efforts that have been percolating through Congress in recent years, including an increase in sanctions against anyone who supports the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, an extension of support to Jordanian security forces helping to combat the Islamic State and other threats to regional stability, and an authorization of security assistance to Israel.

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