Commander of US Central Command General Joseph Votel
Commander of US Central Command General Joseph Votel

Top US general unhappy with Trump's decision of withdrawing troops from Syria, says IS far from defeated

ANI | Updated: Feb 16, 2019 06:20 IST

Washington DC [USA], Feb 16 (ANI): A top US general in the Middle East on Friday disagreed with President Donald Trump's last December decision of withdrawing around 2,000 troops, warning that the Islamic State (IS) was "far from defeated", contradicting the President's opinion that the terror outfit was "fully defeated."
General Joseph Votel, who has been leading the campaign against IS, said that the US-backed military forces in Syria were not ready to handle the looming threat of IS on their own.
"It would not have been my military advice at that particular time ... I would not have made that suggestion, frankly. (The caliphate) still has leaders, still has fighters, it still has facilitators, it still has resources, so our continued military pressure is necessary to continue to go after that network," CNN quoted Votel as saying while referring to the terror group.
Furthermore, Votel asserted that Trump would have made the decision only if he was sure that the IS no longer posed a threat.
"When I say, 'we have defeated them,' I want to ensure that means they do not have the capability to plot or direct attacks against the US or our allies. They still have this very powerful ideology, so they can inspire," the commander of US Central Command remarked.
Meanwhile, Trump on Friday said that he would make announcements regarding the troops' pullout in Syria.
"We have a lot of great announcements having to do with Syria and our success with the eradication of the caliphate and that will be announced over the next 24 hours," Anadolu News Agency quoted Trump as saying in a press conference at the Rose Garden.
Earlier this month, Votel divulged that he "was not consulted" before Trump's announcement about the withdrawal of troops from Syria.
Denying Trump's claims that IS has been defeated, Votel stated that the war against IS is "not over" and warned that the terror group could regroup after troops leave the country.
In a hearing held by the Senate Armed Services Committee, Votel said, "I was not aware of the specific announcement. Certainly, we are aware that he had expressed a desire and intent in the past to depart Iraq, depart Syria."
Trump's decision to withdraw about 2,000 US soldiers from Syria did not go down well among various Congressmen and created a rift between the US President and the military.
Following the announcement, Secretary of Defence James Mattis and the Special Presidential Envoy to the Counter ISIS campaign Brett McGurk resigned from their respective posts. (ANI)