The US Senate approved by a large majority Monday an amendment critical of President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw troops from Syria and Afghanistan, in a sign of the deep discontent caused by the policies within his own Republican ranks.
"I was not aware of the specific announcement", Central Command commander Gen. Joseph Votel told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The U.S. began the process of pulling out earlier this month, when it hauled vehicles and equipment from northeast Syria into neighboring Iraq.
Many members of Congress, including several fellow Republicans, strongly disagree with a plan Trump announced in December to withdraw 2,000 US troops from Syria on the grounds that the militant group no longer posed a threat. Angus King, I-Maine, asked.
Votel responded, "We were not - I was not consulted".
Votel warned that ISIS would pose an enduring threat following a planned United States withdrawal from Syria, saying the militant group retained leaders, fighters, facilitators and resources that will fuel a menacing insurgency.
The Republican-led US Senate backed largely symbolic legislation on Monday that broke with President Donald Trump by opposing plans for any abrupt withdrawal of troops from Syria and Afghanistan.
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"Don't overburden Iraq with your own issues", Salih said. "He's humiliating the Iraqi government because they don't recognize the USA presence as being a presence to monitor a neighboring country, and they humiliate the Iraqi government in the eyes of Iraqis who do not want their country occupied by Americans".
"We got to get out of these endless wars and bring our folks back home", he said at another point.
While US forces have been key to the rollback of the jihadis onslaught in Iraq in 2014, both independent and Iran-backed Iraqi political groups have been increasingly calling for ending foreign military deployment in the country. Those are seen as efforts to reassure allies anxious about shifts in USA policy, including Trump's Syria plan.
Trump is expected to speak to the gathered foreign ministers at the State Department-hosted conference on Wednesday is widely expected to reiterate and expand on his anti-IS message from the State of the Union, officials said. The White House, however, said President Trump had not ordered the Pentagon to withdraw.
Trump said that the US troops in Syria were starting to come home, as they push out the "final remainder of the [IS] caliphate".
Some of the forces moving out of Syria will go to Iraq, where they can monitor any resurgence of Islamic State or other militant group and "ultimately some will be coming home", Trump said.
US military commanders rely heavily on Syrian forces to gather intelligence from information and material gathered from the battlefield, but also a wide-range of informers with firsthand knowledge about ISIS operations.
The highly respected Votel, former head of the Joint Special Operations Command, also appears to be at odds with Trump on the resiliency of ISIS and the terror group's ability to surge again once USA troops leave. Abdullah said that, despite this, the partial withdrawal of US -led foreign forces would not spell the end of the world for Afghanistan.