Top US general says Trump did not consult him on Syria announcement

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"We're going to have a strong border".

He said the troops would soon be moving to the huge Al Asad Airbase in Iraq's Anbar province and that their new tasks would include protecting Israel and keeping an eye on Iran, which his administration has accused of being the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism and of wanting to acquire nuclear weapons.

"If the Americans try to bring more troops to Iraq, there will be an escalation in the opposition to them", Jawad al-Musawi, a member of Iraq's Parliament, told The New York Times.

The commander of US Central Command, which oversees military operations in the Middle East, said Tuesday he "was not consulted" prior to President Donald Trump's December announcement that the US would withdraw its troops from Syria. "And one of the reasons I want to keep it is because I want to be looking a little bit at Iran because Iran is a real problem", he said.

Earlier this month, the leader of one of Iraq's most powerful Iranian-backed Shiite militias told The Associated Press in an interview that he expects a vote in the coming months by Iraq's parliament calling for the withdrawal of US troops.

The report said that when US troops withdraw, it is "unclear what would occur with the Manbij agreement".

Lawmakers on the panel expressed skepticism, as Chairman Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., said the Islamic State and A Qaeda are still active in the region, and that "When our military pulls back, Russian Federation pulls forward".

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Trump announced in December that the 2,000 USA troops in Syria would be withdrawn on the grounds that Islamic State militants no longer pose a threat. ISIS remains an active insurgent group in both Iraq and Syria.

He added that territory under Isis control had been reduced to less than 20 sq miles (5,180 hectares) and would be recaptured by US-backed forces prior to the USA withdrawal, which he said would be carried out in a "deliberate and coordinated manner".

The detail that Trump did not speak to Votel ahead of the momentous decision will likely fuel critics who say the president refuses to listen to experts and instead relies on his gut - or even the counsel of foreign leaders. seeking to broker an agreement that prevents Turkey from following through on its threats to launch a full-scale military offensive against Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria. "We have very fast airplanes, we have very good cargo planes", he added.

USA officials say that overall, there are about 2,000 IS militants in Syria. "We can come back very quickly".

"We are expecting the United States to respect our mutual interests and avoid pushing Iraq into a regional conflict", he said. However, Turkey's Islamist president, Recep Erdogan, called the demand "a very serious mistake" and flatly told U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton, "We can not make any concessions in this regard". "There are only Iraqi bases where some U.S. and non-U.S. soldiers are present".

Stephen Myrow, managing partner with Beacon Policy Advisors, a Washington DC-based policy analysis firm, said the U.S. president was using the interview to move the debate on from the government shutdown.

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