A top U.S. general has called out President Donald Trump for his decision to pull American troops out of Syria and to prematurely declare that ISIS has been defeated.
In an interview with CNN’s Barbara Starr, Gen. Joseph Votel, the top American general in the Middle East, said that he does not believe that local forces in Syria and Iraq are strong enough to keep ISIS down without American support.
“It would not have been my military advice at that particular time . . . I would not have made that suggestion, frankly,” Votel said of Trump’s orders to withdraw. “[The caliphate] 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.”
Votel went on to knock Trump for justifying his decision to pull out of Syria by saying he’d already achieved his goal of defeating ISIS.
“When I say, ‘we have defeated them,’ I want to ensure that means they do not have the capability to plot or direct attacks against the US or our allies,” Votel said. “They still have this very powerful ideology, so they can inspire.”