USA general warns of IS threat ahead of planned Syria pullout

Donald Trump will keep troops in Iraq to 'watch Iran'

He has since said that the withdrawal will be gradual, with some of the US troops in Syria re-deploying to Iraq while others return to the States.

"It is important to understand that even though this territory has been reclaimed, the fight against Islamic State and violent extremists is not over and our mission has not changed", Votel, commander of US Central Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

During the withdrawal, "We should expect that they [ISIS fighters] will attempt to attack us and regenerate themselves, and we will continue to put pressure on them to prevent that", Votel said.

The Republican-led U.S. 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.

The government of Cameroon has apologized to Israel for an incendiary remark made by one of its officials describing the Nazi.

Many members of Congress, including several fellow Republicans, strongly disagree with a plan Trump announced in December to withdraw 2,000 USA troops from Syria on the grounds that the militant group no longer posed a threat.

Despite Trump's order to withdraw, American officials maintain that the goal remains the "enduring defeat" of the Islamic State group and are moving ahead with a long-planned meeting of top diplomats from the 79-member US-led anti-Islamic State coalition this week.

It warned that "a precipitous withdrawal" could destabilize the region and create a vacuum that could be filled by Iran or Russian Federation.

According to Votel, ISIS still controls about 20 square miles in Syria, with up to 1,500 fighters. It has begun to withdraw equipment from Syria and is expected to begin the drawdown of personnel soon.

The Senate vote came just hours before Trump was scheduled to deliver his nationally televised State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress.

A source close to Trump said the president will declare the militant group all but defeated and will discuss his planned Syria drawdown.

At nearly the same time the report was released, the US Senate was approving an amendment critical of Mr Trump's Syrian and Afghanistan withdrawal.

"Currently, ISIS is regenerating key functions and capabilities more quickly in Iraq than in Syria, but absent sustained [counterterrorism] pressure ISIS could likely resurge in Syria within six to twelve months and regain limited territory in the [Middle Euphrates River Valley]", it added. But he added that he and others in the high command knew in general terms of Trump's "desire and intent in the past to depart Iraq, depart Syria".

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