General contradicts President Trump: ISIS isn't defeated and 'we don't have an end date'
A U.S. general told reporters over the weekend that U.S. troops will continue fighting ISIS in northern Syria for the foreseeable future, the New York Times reported Monday.
"We don't have an end date," Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie, commander of the military's Central Command, told reporters in Bahrain when asked how long U.S. troops would remain in the region.
The statement came as the Times reported U.S. troops resuming large-scale military operations against ISIS in northern Syria.
In March, the Trump administration announced ISIS had been "100 percent" defeated in Syria. Hours after that announcement, CNN showed footage of American troops there battling ISIS.
Speaking to reporters on Saturday, McKenzie said, ISIS "still [has] the power to injure, still [has] the power to cause violence."
In October, Trump announced the withdrawal of U.S. troops from northern Syria, effectively greenlighting a Turkish military operation targeting Kurdish-led forces in the region. Kurdish fighters were longstanding American allies in fight against ISIS, but Turkey considers many of them to be extremists.
Terrorism experts concluded that Trump's abandonment of Kurdish allies in the region was a boon for ISIS, helping its captured fighters escape from prison and giving the group an opportunity to rebuild.
"Over the next days and weeks, the pace will pick back up against remnants of ISIS," McKenzie told the Times, despite Trump's promise to withdraw American troops from the region.
In October, Trump declared, "Oil is secured. Our soldiers have left and are leaving Syria for other places, then ... COMING HOME!"
However, other American troops stationed nearby were quickly deployed to northern Syria to protect oil fields from falling under ISIS control.
Trump's pledge to pull troops from the region has not been entirely empty: McKenzie told reporters this past weekend that Trump's actions over the past several months had resulted in roughly 500 fewer troops in northern Syria.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation. Attribution: Dan Desai Martin.