US not withdrawing from Syria right now – Mattis

WASHINGTON, US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis affirmed Thursday that his country is not withdrawing from Syria “right now.” Mattis told the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, “right now, we are not withdrawing.” “You’ll see a re-energized effort against the Middle Euphrates River Valley in the days ahead, and against the rest of the caliphate — the geographic caliphate,” he said, referring to the so-called Islamic State (IS) group. “You’ll see increased operations on the Iraq side of the border.

“The French have just reinforced us in Syria with special forces, here, in the last two weeks. And this is an ongoing fight right now,” Mattis said.

“We’re continuing the fight,” against IS, and that “we’re going to expand it and bring in more regional support — is probably the biggest shift we’re making right now,” he went on.

On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump told reporters “would love to get out” of Syria.” “We’re going to be coming home relatively soon. We finished at least almost our work with respect to IS in Syria, IS in Iraq,” he remarked.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon chief affirmed that in Middle East “we have dramatically reduced IS’ physical caliphate,” with a “coordinated, whole-of-government approach that works by, with, and through our allies and partners to crush IS’ claim of invincibility and deny them a geographic haven from which to plot murder.

Source: Kuwait News Agency