On Tuesday US General Joseph Votel, head of the U.S. military’s Central Command warned Washington about rising in insurgent activities of Islamic State, a militant group, in Syria following the US’s “precipitous withdrawal”. Votel told Senate Committee that US’s absence could destabilize the region and create a vacuum that would be filled by Iran or Russia.
In December the US President, Donald Trump made a surprise announcement about the withdrawal of about 2000 US troops, while claiming victory over the Islamic State group in Syria. Votel (US Commander General for the Middle East) told Senate Armed Services Committee that though the US has kept IS under control and has capture significant amount of territory (i.e. 34,000 square miles) that was once held by Islamic State, but IS could regain its control over the region within a year. Currently, IS hold has been reduced to less than 20 square miles, but it includes a large swath of desert around the Syrian villages.
Votel said, “We do have to keep the pressure on this network. … They have the ability to come back together if we don’t.”
He added, “Absent sustained (counterterrorism) pressure, ISIS could likely resurge in Syria within six to 12 months and regain limited territory.”
Trump during his interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation”, aired on Sunday, said, “We’re at 99 percent right now, we’ll be at 100.”
He criticized Trump for not consulting him before taking the US forces withdrawal decision and told the Senate Armed Services Committee, “It is important to understand that even though this territory has been reclaimed, the fight against ISIS and violent extremists is not over and our mission has not changed.”
The report which was made public on Monday also mentioned that Islamic State was trying to strengthen its grip over Iraq more quickly than in Syria by regenerating functions and capabilities.
It is the second report in a row after US Intelligence Community report hinting at the high possibility of the increase in the control of Islamic State militant group that looms over Syria & Iraq in future, once the US pullout is executed.