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The top commander of US forces in the Middle East, Gen. Joseph Votel, told a Senate committee on Tuesday that of the 34,000 square miles of territory that IS once held, it now controls less than 20 square miles.

Trump has asserted that because the terrorist organization ISIS (Islamic State, Iraq and Syria) has been "defeated" in Syria, it's time to bring USA troops home.

"I was not consulted", said Gen Joseph Votel, head of the usa military's Central Command, who warned that Islamic State will continue to pose a threat following a U.S. withdrawal. But he added that he and others in the high command knew in general terms of Trump's "desire and intent in the past to depart Iraq, depart Syria".

"All I want to do is be able to watch", Trump told "Face the Nation" anchor Margaret Brennan. They have the ability of coming back together if we don't, ' Votel, who oversees troops in the Middle East as well as Afghanistan, told senators. His "little serpent" reference was to Saddam Hussein, who was overthrown that year after the U.S.

Trump offered no specifics about when he would bring home the 14,000 U.S. troops now in Afghanistan.

In an interview with CBS News broadcast on Sunday, Trump said the us troops in Syria would be departing soon.

Despite Trump's order to withdraw, American officials maintain that the goal remains the "enduring defeat" of the Islamic State group and are moving ahead with a long-planned meeting of top diplomats from the 79-member USA -led anti-IS coalition this week.

Trump has indicated he wants to bring home some or all of the 14,000 American troops in Afghanistan, and a US envoy is having talks with Taliban insurgents even though they refuse to deal with the country's government.

The Republican-controlled Senate voted to require President Donald Trump to impose new sanctions on Syria, in a rebuke delivered just hours before the president is expected to defend his policies during his State of the Union address.

ISIS may conduct opportunistic attacks on USA personnel as they withdraw but will leverage the event as a "victory" in its media.

He said that about 1,500 to 2,000 ISIS fighters remain in a 20-square-mile pocket in Syria near the Iraqi border.

While stressing that he does not support boycotting Israel, Van Hollen said that U.S. citizens should be able to express their political opinions without fear of being punished by their government.

The command added that ISIS "may conduct opportunistic attacks on USA personnel as they withdraw" and posited that the group's leaders "will leverage the event as a "victory" in its media".

Trump said the United States spent a fortune on a base in Iraq.

Trump voiced guarded hope that intensifying negotiations with Afghanistan's Taliban would bring for a "possible political solution" to end the longest-ever United States war.

But the group remains active and still numbers in the thousands in Syria and Iraq, and it is probably adding about 50 new members a month, the Defense Department inspector general report says.


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