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Trump suffers Senate defeat in Syria troops withdrawal vote

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Pentagon: ISIS will regain ground in Syria when US troops leave and will play troop withdrawal as a 'victory'

During a February 5 hearing held by the Senate Armed Services Committee, Gen. Joseph Votel explained, "I was not aware of the specific announcement".

FILE - U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters after signing a proclamation declaring his intention to withdraw from the JCPOA Iran nuclear agreement in the Diplomatic Room at the White House in Washington, May 8, 2018.

"We do have to keep pressure on this network", Voted told senators. "We are now making it clear to China that after years of targeting our industries, and stealing our intellectual property, the theft of American jobs and wealth has come to an end", Trump said in his annual State of the Union address.

In the February 5 speech, Trump made passing reference to his decision to withdraw all USA troops from Afghanistan and Syria - a decision that has anxious US allies.

Trump made only one reference to American support for the Jewish State in his speech, hailing his administration's controversial recognition of Jerusalem as the "true capital of Israel" - a decision he said was "based on principled realism, not discredited theories that have failed for decades to yield progress".

The Pentagon's Office of Inspector General released a report Monday that said ISIS is likely to try to leverage the withdrawal of USA troops from Syria as a "victory", CNN reported.

The resolution was sponsored by the Republican leader of the Senate Mitch McConnell, who said last week the measure "would acknowledge the plain fact that Al-Qaeda, ISIS and their affiliates in Syria and Afghanistan continue to pose a serious threat to our nation". The report said that when USA troops withdraw, it is "unclear what would occur with the Manbij agreement". It has begun to withdraw equipment from Syria and is expected to begin the drawdown of personnel soon.

The Taliban, responding to Trump's speech, rejected any suggestion of a lingering US focus on counter-terrorism after troops are drawn down, reiterating their long-held demand that all foreign troops get out.

It was only in mid-November, when the YPG was back in the fight, that the SDF was able to roll back IS gains, the report said, describing the YPG "paramount to stability and efforts to defeat ISIS". The footage showed armored vehicles with PMF green flags blocking a road as armed men in military uniform, claimed to be USA troops, passed by.

"ISIS remains an active insurgent group in both Iraq and Syria", the command wrote.

'Absent sustained (counterterrorism) pressure, ISIS could likely resurge in Syria within six to 12 months and regain limited territory, ' the report from the Pentagon's inspector general said.

The report, citing information from U.S. Central Command, said ISIS would portray the withdrawal as a "victory" and conduct attacks on American personnel during the pullout process.

"The United States military is in Iraq to provide support for their government in their fight against ISIS, not to be looking at other states in the region".

"Don't overburden Iraq with your own issues", Salih said.

A Defense Department watchdog report released Monday warned of just such a possibility.

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