US Senate breaks from Trump with Syria troop vote

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The U.S. general in charge of Middle East operations said Tuesday he was not consulted by President Donald Trump about his decision to withdraw American troops from Syria.

"I was not aware of the specific announcement".

The measure says Daesh and al-Qaeda militants still pose a serious threat to the United States, and it warns that "a precipitous withdrawal" of USA forces from those countries could "allow terrorists to regroup, destabilize critical regions and create vacuums that could be filled by Iran or Russian Federation".

That country repeatedly denounced the presence of the US military and the bombings of the coalition headed by Washington, which caused many civilian casualties.

Trump first announced the withdrawal of troops on December 19, tweeting that the U.S.

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

He added that territory under Islamic State's control had been reduced to less than 20 square miles (5,180 hectares) and would be recaptured by US-backed forces prior to the USA withdrawal, which he said would be carried out in a "deliberate and coordinated manner".




A source close to Trump said the president will declare the militant group all but defeated and will discuss his planned Syria drawdown. There have been no reports to date of USA troops leaving Syria.

Central Command said that the Islamic State group is "regenerating key functions and capabilities more quickly in Iraq than in Syria", but unless there is sustained counterterrorism pressure, Islamic State militants "could likely resurge in Syria within six to twelve months and regain limited territory" in the Middle Euphrates River Valley. He was testifying Tuesday before the committee on the situation throughout his area of responsibility.

Votel said the USA withdrawal from Syria would be cautious and deliberate, and noted that IS are still not beaten.

"The coalition's hard-won battlefield gains can only be secured by maintaining a vigilant offensive against the now largely dispersed and disaggregated ISIS that retains leaders, fighters, facilitators, resources and the profane ideology that fuels their efforts".

"The fight against ISIS and violent extremists is not over, and our mission has not changed", Votel said. USA policy has been to keep troops in place until the extremists are eradicated.

USA officials tell Reuters that the military has already started the withdrawal process, adding hundreds of troops to Syria to facilitate a safe pullout.

USA officials said that ISIS fighters hold only several villages in the Middle Euphrates River Valley, but added they don't expect that area to be cleared of militants for another several weeks, at best.

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