Pompeo reassures allies of USA commitment to defeat ISIL

07 February, 2019, 08:04 | Author: Trevor Moore
  • Islamic State

US-backed Syrian forces seized a number of oil fields and gas plants from ISIS in 2017, including the Conoco natural gas facility, an important source of revenue for terrorists, and the al-Omar oil field, the country's largest and most profitable.

"We'll probably come back at a future date, with much more danger to our troops", Engel told Reuters.

While officials said plans were underway to conduct "remote" advise-and-assist operations, they acknowledged the mission would be tougher and that there would be less pressure on ISIS as a result.

The move has received bipartisan pushback from officials and politicians who have feared an ISIS resurgence and growing Iranian influence in the region, but Trump said there were only "remnants" of the group left and, while "remnants can be very unsafe", he looked forward to welcoming USA troops home.

"If they are slaughtered by the Turks, it will be a stain on the honor of this country that will persist" and hurt our ability to attract allies in future, King said.

"We spent a fortune on building this incredible base", Trump said.

Asked how the USA would maintain such pressure after withdrawing the 2,000-plus troops currently in Syria, Votel said "that is an aspect of the ongoing planning that we are pursuing right now". Trump apparently was referring to the Al-Asad air base in western Iraq, where he paid a brief visit to United States forces in December.

But how the fight will proceed and when USA troops will leave Syria are unclear.

In announcing his decision to withdraw, Trump said the Islamic State in Syria has been sufficiently defeated - a claim disputed by multiple officials and experts.

Speaking at the State Department, Trump said that US-led troops and their Kurdish allies had "liberated virtually all of the territory" from the jihadists who once controlled a vast stretch of Syria and Iraq in a self-styled caliphate.

But, Trump added, even if they do reform, the coalition would seek them out and destroy them.

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Trump pledged that the United States will continue to confront Iran's clerical regime.

Earlier, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also reassured the coalition that America will not cede leadership of the fight against ISIS.

"They wouldn't do that for me, Judah", Trump said.

"He thinks it is something we can assist with, it's something we can encourage, but that that has to come from within the Muslim community", the official added.

The US President thanked the UAE, Germany and Saudi Arabia for their increased financial commitments as part of the coalition.

President Donald Trump has criticized his predecessor's approach to fight against the Islamic State militant group (ISIS), which he said was within a week of total defeat.

Pompeo said, "To that end, we ask that our coalition partners seriously and rapidly consider requests that will enable our efforts to continue".

But while Iraq's foreign minister asked for more help, he also warned the US and other countries must heed "the basic principles on which the global coalition has been there, including most importantly the complete respect of the territorial integrity of Iraq and for all operations to take place with the knowledge of the government".

Officials say that the USA withdrawal will happen, although at a slower pace than Trump first intended.

The bill, which almost every Republican voted in favour of, warned that "a precipitous withdrawal" in Syria has the potential to create a vacuum that could be filled by Iran or Russian Federation.

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