Syria Kurds warn US pullout gives IS chance to rebuild
A Syria troop pullout announced by the White House could allow the Islamic State group to rebuild, the Kurdish-dominated force battling the jihadists on the ground warned on Thursday.
“It will have a negative impact on the counterterrorism campaign,” the Syrian Democratic Forces, the US-led coalition’s main military partner in the battle against IS, said in a statement.
The SDF, an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters which has spearheaded the ground battle against the jihadists, warned a pullout would allow IS to regroup and launch a counterattack.
“It will give terrorism… the momentum to recover and conduct a terrorist campaign in the region,” the statement said.
In an announcement that appeared to take Syria’s Kurds by surprise, US President Donald Trump on Wednesday declared victory over IS in Syria and announced a full troop pullout.
Currently, about 2,000 US forces are in the country, most of them on a train-and-advise mission to support local forces fighting IS.
“We’ve won against ISIS,” Trump, said using another acronym for the jihadist group, in a short video posted on social media.
His claim contradicted even members of his own camp and coincided with warnings from officials and analysts that IS had recently managed to resurface in various parts of Syria and Iraq.