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Pentagon Resists US Withdrawal from Syria
By Staff, Agencies
The latest report on US-led operations against Daesh [the Arabic acronym for terrorist ‘ISIS/ISIL’ group] in Iraq and Syria admits the terrorist group is down to some 2,000 fighters, but argues continued US presence in the region is needed to prevent its resurgence.
The report, authored by the Pentagon and State Department inspectors-general, also blamed Turkey for spoiling the US-backed Kurdish militia’s operations against Daesh, and predicts no end to strife in the region, going against US President Donald Trump’s order to withdraw US troops from Syria.
The report debunked the widely circulated estimate – from June 2018 – that Daesh had up to 17,000 fighters in Iraq and up to 14,000 in Syria, calling it questionable even at the time.
The so-called US-led coalition, known as the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve [CJTF-OIR] had “low confidence” in those estimates as of last July, the report said.
As of January, CJTF-OIR estimated only 2,000 Daesh fighters remaining in the group’s last remaining bastion – known at the Pentagon as the Middle Euphrates River Valley [MERV] and located in eastern Syria near the Iraqi border.
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