Syria Kurds warn US pullout gives IS chance to rebuild

Trump is making ISIS STRONGER says key Syrian ally whose forces are being trained by the U.S. troops president ordered out of war-torn country

  • The SDF, Kurdish forces in Syria, warned the US’s exit risked an ISIS uprising 
  • Kurdish officials and commanders met into the night to discuss a plan of action 
  • Donald Trump announced the shock decision to remove US troops on Thursday 

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.

Kurds drove IS from much of northern and eastern Syria in a costly four-year campaign and he announcement of a pullout is widely seen as an abandonment of a loyal ally. 

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Fighters of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces parade at the funeral on November 11, 2018 of a comrade killed in the US-backed campaign against the Islamic State group that President Donald Trump now says is over

‘It will give terrorism… the momentum to recover and conduct a terrorist campaign in the region,’ the statement said.

‘The war against terrorism has not ended and (the Islamic State group) has not been defeated.’

Kurdish officials and commanders met into the night, discussing their responses to the decision, local residents said Thursday.

A war monitor said among the options seriously discussed was releasing thousands of Islamic State militants and their families from various nationalities who are being detained in SDF-run prisons and camps.

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US troops are greeted by cheering crowds as they carry out a patrol in northern Syria on March 5, 2017 in support of their Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces allies

It was not clear whether any decision was immediately taken, and SDF commanders were not immediately available for comment. 

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.

The President announced the shock withdrawal on Twitter on Thursday, adding that it was ‘no surprise’

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