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23 Nov, 2019 11:56

US to step up fight against ISIS in Syria ‘in coming days and weeks’ – CENTCOM chief

US to step up fight against ISIS in Syria ‘in coming days and weeks’ – CENTCOM chief

The Central Command chief said the US plans to escalate operations against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) militants in Syria, where hundreds of American troops were left to “secure the oil.”

General Kenneth McKenzie spoke to reporters on the sidelines of a security-themed event in Manama, Bahrain on Saturday.

The US-led anti-IS operations in Syria are “expected to pick up in coming days and weeks,” he said. McKenzie also noted that about 500 US troops currently remain in eastern Syria.

US President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of troops from northeastern Syria in October. However, he later clarified that hundreds of soldiers would stay to secure the oilfields in the country.

Also on rt.com Pentagon & war-hawks agree: US troops should stay in Syria - 'because ISIS'

The president has also repeatedly declared victory over IS in the past, and Defense Secretary Mark Esper claimed to have destroyed “the physical caliphate” in Syria. Despite that, experts at the Pentagon have been warning that the militants would likely resurge and renew their activities should the Americans leave.

The Syrian government and Russia, meanwhile, have been insisting that the US military presence in the country is illegal, since it was never authorized by Damascus. Moscow further accused Washington of facilitating and profiteering from illegal oil trading in the parts of Syria it controls.

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