Tags: ISIS/Islamic State | Syria | pentagon | inspector general

Pentagon IG: Syrian Withdrawal Emboldens ISIS

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(Alex Brandon/AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 19 November 2019 03:03 PM

The withdraw of American troops from northern Syria and the subsequent Turkish onslaught against Kurdish forces there has paved the way for Islamic State to bolster its position, the Pentagon's inspector general said in a report released on Tuesday.

ISIS is now “likely to exploit the reduction in counterterrorism pressure to reconstitute its operations in Syria and expand its ability to conduct transnational attacks,” the report stated, adding that “absent counterterrorism pressure, ISIS likely will have more freedom to build clandestine networks.”

The report also stated that ISIS will probably try to free more of its members from prisons administered by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), in addition to those who already escaped following the Turkish invasion, and eventually will most likely attempt “to regain control of some Syrian population centers and expand its global footprint."

Another byproduct of the withdrawal, the report stated, is that it “damaged the United States relationship with the SDF, whose leader stated publicly that the SDF views the withdrawal of U.S. troops as a betrayal.”

Both Democrats and Republicans have questioned the wisdom of President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the troops, according to Politico.

There were approximately 1,000 American troops in Syria before the withdrawal. After Trump later ordered soldiers to return to eastern Syria to protect oil there, Pentagon officials say the troop level will be about 600.

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The withdraw of American troops from northern Syria and the subsequent Turkish onslaught against Kurdish forces there has paved the way for Islamic State to bolster its position, the Pentagon's inspector general said in a report released on Tuesday.
pentagon, inspector general
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2019-03-19
Tuesday, 19 November 2019 03:03 PM
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