IS could be back in Syria 'in six months'

IS could be back in Syria 'in six months'

"We're going to be there, and we're going to be staying".

Trump's comments on Sunday have added to mounting concerns among both opponents and supporters of an American troop presence in Iraq.

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.

"All I want to do is be able to watch", he said, pointing out that the United States has an "unbelievable and expensive military base" in the country that is in the best location for keeping watch on events in the Middle East. He also tells @margbrennan one of the reasons he wants to keep troops in Iraq is "to be able to watch Iran".

He said he will soon be announcing the recapture of "100 percent of the caliphate" once claimed by the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

Trump's tough stance toward Iran is a hallmark his foreign policy.

The militants' ability to quickly reconstitute raises questions about pulling the troops out and trying to keep up the pressure from afar.

ISIS militants have lost territory since Trump's surprise announcement in December that he was pulling USA forces out of Syria, but a Defence Department watchdog report released Monday warns the fighters could regroup within six months to a year after the Americans leave.

While singling out the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) as "tenacious fighters", the inspector general noted the threat of a Turkish invasion against these US-backed forces, as Ankara views them to be linked to Turkish separatists.

"We're at 99 percent right now, we'll be at 100", said the president, who was expected to make the announcement during his annual State of the Union address on Tuesday. His "little serpent" reference was to Saddam Hussein, who was overthrown that year after the U.S. "We got to get out of these endless wars and bring our folks back home".

Trump's decision to leave Syria, which he initially said would be rapid but later slowed down, shocked US allies led to the resignations of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and the top envoy to the anti-IS coalition, Brett McGurk. He alleged PMF fighters stopped the survey operation after USA troops reached the Presidential Palace area near the Mosul Hotel where a PMF headquarter is based.

Trump, who imposed sanctions on Iran a year ago after pulling the United States out of the 2015 nuclear agreement, mentioned the future plans for USA troops in Iraq in an interview that aired before the Super Bowl. His visit sparked outrage in Iraq when he failed to meet with any Iraqi officials. A scheduled meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi was scrapped and the two leaders spoke over the phone instead.

Trump is expected to tout US successes in Syria when he appears before a joint session of Congress to deliver a State of the Union speech at 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday.

"With newly surfaced reports suggesting that Iraqi politicians are undertaking initiatives to force the troop withdrawal, Marandi told hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou that it's uncertain what response Trump's remarks will generate, given the fractured status of the Iraqi government".

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