Walking back Syria withdrawal, Trump cites need to watch Iran, 'protect' Israel

Trump Great nations do not fight endless wars

Qais al-Khazali, a powerful PMF leader known for his anti-American sentiment, told Associated Press last week that he expects the Iraqi parliament to vote in favor of usa troops withdrawal in coming months.

A Defense Department watchdog report released Monday warned of just such a possibility.

Trump also said in the CBS interview that the usa would carry out airstrikes in Syria from inside Iraq and that some of the forces withdrawn from Syria could stay in Iraq to carry out attacks against ISIS in Syria, if needed. "And we've spent seven trillion dollars in the Middle East and we have lost lives".

"I was not aware of the specific announcement", Votel told the committee.

Votel said there are now between 1,000 and 1,500 IS fighters in the small area they still control in the southern part of the Euphrates River Valley near the Iraqi border. "They're exhausted. Everybody's exhausted".

Trump is under pressure from his allies and critics to walk back his decision to pull out of Syria because of the threat it leaves Kurdish allies exposed to and because of the need to ensure ISIS is fully defeated before easing up the military pressure.

Mr Trump initially said the withdrawal from Syria should be immediate, but he has since said it would be gradual.

Trump's Syria withdrawal has 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 (52 square km) 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".

The report said that when US troops withdraw, it is "unclear what would occur with the Manbij agreement". In late November and December that figure had been estimated at between 400 and 600 square kilometers, according to officials briefed on the matter.

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Trump said in a weekend interview that the caliphate is "almost knocked out".

In an interview with CBS News broadcast on Sunday, Trump said the US troops in Syria would be departing soon.

Abu Jaffar al-Shabaki, the head of PMF's 30th Brigade, in a press conference Saturday said the US troops were surveying Mosul city and filming neighborhoods with video recorders.

The task force also told the IG that, "in preparation for the complete loss of territory, ISIS increasingly functions as a decentralized insurgency as its 'way ahead plan'".

The report, citing information from Central Command, said ISIS would portray the withdrawal as a "victory" and conduct attacks on American personnel during the pullout process.

On Syria, Trump said the 2,000 United States troops in the country would leave "in a matter of time" but cited the need to protect Israel "and other things that we have" for slowing down after initially announcing an immediate pull-out.

Since Trump's announcement, the US military has removed some equipment and supplies from Syria, though no USA troops have left.

Pentagon officials have long described the US military's mission in Afghanistan as preventing the country from becoming a haven for groups seeking to attack the American homeland.

"We are expecting the United States to respect Our mutual interests and avoid pushing Iraq into a regional conflict", he said.

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