Senate breaks from Trump with Syria troop vote

Senate breaks from Trump with Syria troop vote

He is expected to tout U.S. successes in Syria when he appears before a joint session of Congress to deliver a State of the Union speech at 9 p.m. on Tuesday (0200 GMT on Wednesday).

A report by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that Islamic State has transformed into a covert network, including in its strongholds of Syria and Iraq, but is still a threat with centralized leadership, up to $300 million at its disposal and thousands of fighters.

"It is important to understand that even though this territory has been reclaimed, the fight against ISIS and violent extremists is not over and our mission has not changed", Gen Votel said.

Votel warned that ISIS could regroup with the removal of US troops, meaning the military will have to "keep pressure on this network" even after withdrawal.

A Defense Department watchdog report released Monday says the Islamic State group "remains a potent force of battle-hardened and well-disciplined fighters that "could likely resurge in Syria" absent continued counterterrorism pressure".

Although the security situation is improved, the report warns that more needs to be done to improve the quality of life for Iraq's Sunni population. And it says, "If Sunni socio-economic, political, and sectarian grievances are not adequately addressed by the national and local governments of Iraq and Syria it is very likely that Islamic State will have the opportunity to set conditions for future resurgence and territorial control". The withdrawal was later delayed but as Monday's report pointed out, it is now an ongoing process.

Last week, U.S. intelligence chiefs also broke with the president, saying Islamic State would continue to pursue attacks from Syria, as well as Iraq, against regional and Western adversaries, including the United States. The bomber struck a restaurant in Manbij, killing at least 16 people. Remember the U.S. had acted in a similar manner in the nineties as well. The text warns that "a precipitous withdrawal" of soldiers could "allow terrorists to regroup, destabilize critical regions and create vacuums that could be filled by Iran or Russian Federation".

Votel's statement appears to be the first confirmation on the record from anyone in the high command that Trump's order to pull out from Syria blindsided the military in its mission to inflict a lasting defeat on the Islamic State.

The bill and its easy passage show the deep discontent caused by the policies within the president's own Republican ranks. All of the votes in opposition came from Democrats, who rejected the anti-boycott measure in a bill that also provides military assistance for Israel, extends defense cooperation with Jordan and imposes new sanctions against the Syrian government.

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