US General Votel is being more outspoken about Syria amid the US withdrawal.
“[ISIS] still has leaders, still has fighters, it still has facilitators, it still has resources, so our continued military pressure is necessary to continue to go after that network,” Gen Votel told CNN.
The head US Central Command, says making the SDF capable of doing security and stabilization is “another key criteria indicating to me that we have accomplished our mission…We’re not there,” he said.
In Oman he said more. “As long as they are fighting against ISIS and continue to keep pressure on them, I think it would seem to me to be in our interest to continue to provide the means for them to do that,” Votel said.
“As long as they [the SDF] are fighting against ISIS and continue to keep pressure on them, I think it would seem to me to be in our interest to continue to provide the means for them to do that,” he told Reuters.
At the Munich Security Conference another official voiced support for the SDF. “Many of (them) recognize the degree to which the SDF has actually done the hard fighting and dying and they feel a sense of obligation to just not turn our backs,” the official said.
The French feel the same. “We all have the same conclusion: ISIS has lost almost all its territory, but not its strength. The fight continues by other means,” France’s Defence Minister Florence Parly tweeted.
Votel is on a “farewell” tour of the region. He recently said he was not aware when Trump decided to withdraw.
“So you weren’t consulted before that decision was announced?” Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, asked him. “We were not, I was not consulted,” Votel responded.