عربي | كوردى



Votel: Tens of thousands of ISIS fighters in Syria, Iraq

Votel: Tens of thousands of ISIS fighters in Syria, Iraq

2019/02/11 | 17:10

(Hatha al-Youm | Iraq News)- The

top US commander in the war against ISIS aligned himself Sunday with the US

intelligence community assessment that there are "tens of thousands"

of ISIS fighters spread across Syria and Iraq, the CNN reported on

Monday.



"They are dispersed and disaggregated, but there is

leadership, there are fighters there, there are facilitators there," Gen.

Joseph Votel told reporters traveling with him to the Middle East for his

farewell tour.



Votel's comments underscore the testimony from Director of

National Intelligence Dan Coats before Congress, an assessment President Donald

Trump has publicly disagreed with.



The statements, however, come as US backed fighters are in heavy

combat in the last area of Syria where ISIS still controls territory.



"I'm very proud of the coalition force team that we have on

the ground who's assisting our Syrian Democratic force partners in what will be

difficult fighting," Votel said. "Urban terrain, high density of

explosive hazards in the area, and the presence of displaced persons and others

who are attempting to depart the area."



He added that in the

last 24 hours, operations were resumed in the Middle Euphrates Valley and are

currently underway.



American officials

believe the dispersed fighters may be in a wide swath of Syrian desert.



For now, Votel was

definitive that all US troops will leave Syria, but he wouldn't put a public

timeline on when it will be completed.



"The President's

orders are very clear to us. We understand exactly what he has directed,"

Votel said.



However, he also notes

the US military will also continue looking for ways to keep the pressure on

ISIS and support the SDF without ground troops inside Syria. He declined to

offer specifics how that might be accomplished.



These comments came as

Votel began a two-week farewell tour before stepping down as head of

US Central Command. His trip, which comes just as the U.S. begins plans to pull

troops out of Syria, will include meetings with foreign leaders to thank them

for their support.



Votel is retiring

after 39 years with the US Army.









TRENDING News



Latest News Today






Videos and Photos


TRENDING NOW