General Joseph Votel, commander of US Central Command, insists that ISIS is far from being defeated and therefore the US should not withdraw troops from Syria.
“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,” Votel said on February 15. “They still have this very powerful ideology, so they can inspire.”
Commenting on President Donald Trump’s plan to withdraw troops from Syria, Votel said that this move “would not have been my military advice at that particular time”. “I would not have made that suggestion, frankly,” he further commented on the plan.
Votel also clarified that the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which are currently involved in an operation against ISIS in the Euphrates Valley, could not defeat the terror group without continued US assistance.
“They still require our enablement and our assistance with this,” Votel said, adding that the military was still in the midst of executing a “well-crafted military campaign.”
“We want (ISIS) to be able to be controlled or addressed by the indigenous partners, whether that’s the Iraqi security forces in Iraq, or the Syrian Democratic Forces in Syria, that when they are capable of handing this threat on their own, without our assistance, that will be another key criteria indicating to me that we have accomplished our mission of defeat of ISIS.”
Another commont topic of the US attitude on the situation in the region. Votel said that Iran poses a growing threat to US partners in the region and expressed concern over its development of advanced weapons. However, the general openly acknowledged that Tehran had held up its side of the nuclear deal that Trump withdrew in 2018.
“I acknowledged that the reporting is that they remain in compliance with the provisions of the JCPOA [the nuclear deal], but of course we do see them continuing to advance their missile technology,” he said. “It should not be lost on anybody that an advanced ballistic missile program could also be used to move weapons of mass destruction.”
“Their ability to be innovative, their ability to seek more precision, and the fact that they are increasing their quantity are the greatest areas of concern for me,” Votel stressed. “They are looking to use new ways of orchestrating their actions so it isn’t so much so through just ballistic missiles, but we’ve also seen a proliferation of unmanned aerial systems … that operate in different (ways), so this could challenge us.”
Votel’s remarks demonstrate that far from everyone in the US military and the White House share Trump’s vision of the US role in the region. The troops withdrawal from Syria is one of the fields, in which US President faces an obvious opposition.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Syrian War Report – Feb. 15, 2019: Army Ambushes ISIS Terrorists, Sezies Loads Of Weapons
- SDF Captured Loads Of Weapons Abandoned By ISIS (Photos)