Top General Says He Wasn't Consulted on Syria Withdrawl

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United States and Turkish soldiers conduct the first-ever combined joint patrol outside Manbij, Syria, Nov. 1, 2018.

President Trump cares a dam about warnings by USA intelligence chiefs that a hasty withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and Syria could allow a resurgence by al Qaeda and the Islamic State.

"I was not aware of the specific announcement", U.S. Central Command (Centcom) commander Gen. Joseph Votel said.

"We do have to keep pressure on this network".

"I was not consulted", the general said.

President Donald Trump's top commander on Middle East operations said the president did not consult him before announcing all American troops would withdraw from Syria on December 19.

The government of Cameroon has apologized to Israel for an incendiary remark made by one of its officials describing the Nazi. He credits their combined work against the Islamic State group and notes USA forces are going to withdraw from Syria.

"While I understand and respect President Trump's desire to bring our troops home and to end these protracted wars, we must do so in a way that ensures enduring stability and protects our interests and those of our allies, the need for caution and reflection as we consider troops withdrawals", South Dakota Republican John Thune said late last week in arguing for the reprimand of the president's decision.

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It warned that "a precipitous withdrawal" could destabilize the region and create a vacuum that could be filled by Iran or Russian Federation.

Trump made his decision to withdraw the U.S. troops after a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had said Istanbul would lead the fight against IS remnants in Syria. It has begun to withdraw equipment from Syria and is expected to begin the drawdown of personnel soon.

U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to declare near-total triumph over ISIS in Syria in his State of the Union address Tuesday, but American defence officials are increasingly fearful that the militants are simply biding their time until the Americans leave the battlefield as planned.

Votel's statement appears to be the first confirmation on the record from anyone in the high command that Trump's order to pull out from Syria blindsided the military in its mission to inflict a lasting defeat on the Islamic State.

The Pentagon's own internal watchdog released a report on Monday saying Islamic State remained an active insurgent group and was regenerating functions and capabilities more quickly in Iraq than in Syria.

The Islamic State group "remains a potent force of battle-hardened and well-disciplined fighters that "could likely resurge in Syria" absent continued counterterrorism pressure", the report from the inspector general said.

USA officials in recent weeks say Islamic State has lost 99.5 percent of its territory and is holding on to fewer than 10 square kilometres of turf in Syria - an area smaller than New York's Central Park.

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