Pentagon officials: Syria withdrawal heightens ISIS risks

Pentagon officials: Syria withdrawal heightens ISIS risks

US Defence officials believe many fighters have fled to ungoverned spaces and other pockets in the north and west. However, Pompeo was not concerned that Russia's tactical strategies and efforts to continue a foothold in the region would replace the the most important country outside of the Middle East.

While officials said plans were underway to conduct "remote" advise-and-assist operations, they acknowledged the mission would be tougher and that there would be less pressure on ISIS as a result.

As such, he said, 'It is time to give our fearless warriors in Syria a warm welcome home'.

Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif hit back at the accusations Wednesday morning, tweeting that "Iranians - including our Jewish compatriots - are commemorating 40 yrs of progress despite USA pressure, just as @realDonaldTrump again makes accusations against us".

"I am not under pressure to be out by a specific date and I've not had any specific conditions put upon me", Votel said, adding the USA and its partners must maintain pressure on IS cells in Syria and beyond.

Gen. Joseph Votel, the top military officer in charge of operations in the Middle East, told Senate lawmakers Tuesday he wasn't consulted before President Donald Trump announced a US withdrawal from Syria.

When the USA pulled out of the multilateral nuclear accord, Trump's administration touted that sanctions would put pressure on Iran to curb its missile programme and regional activities. Fears that IS fighters are making a strategic maneuver to lay low ahead of the US pullout has fueled criticism that Trump telegraphed his military plans - the same thing he accused President Barack Obama of doing in Afghanistan.

Yet despite more wary assessments from top military and intelligence officials, Trump said Wednesday that the terror organization had been decimated, losing tens of thousands of fighters and more than 60 high-ranking leaders.

"When I took office, ISIS controlled more than 20,000 square miles in Iraq and Syria".

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The Republican Jewish Coalition, by contrast, said Trump's choices for guests sent clear and welcome messages.

"Decades ago, the United States entered into a treaty with Russian Federation in which we agreed to limit and reduce our missile capabilities", he said. Votel also confirmed to committee members that he believes the remaining ISIS stronghold in Syria will be eliminated by the time of US troops drawdown.

"I know that we've been given an order to deliberately withdraw", West said, adding that USA forces "do not need to be co-located to keep the pressure on the enemy".

He did not claim victory in Afghanistan and instead used the recently held US-Taliban talks in Doha and United Arab Emirates for justifying his plan to pull out troops from there as well.

"Rest assured, we'll do what it takes to defeat every ounce and every last person within the ISIS madness and defend our people from radical Islamic terrorism", he said.

"We ask that our coalition partners seriously and rapidly consider requests that will enable our efforts to continue", he said.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani said Iraq aspires to have "good and balanced relations" with all of its neighbors "based on mutual interests and without intervention in internal affairs".

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, who were at the forefront of the battle that crushed the Islamic State, have warned that they may no longer be able to guard prisons housing jihadists from France, Britain and other foreign countries after the U.S. withdrawal if Turkey attacks.

Trump vowed to build the wall, which he insists is needed to stem illegal immigration and smuggled drugs, and said Democratic attempts at "ridiculous partisan investigations" could damage USA prosperity.

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