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Pentagon claims Syria withdrawal contributing to ISIS resurgence

Problems with the argument

As of July 22 there were still nearly one thousand US troops in Syria. CBS news outlined the situation in a recent story: “It’s been four months since the last piece of ISIS-held territory was liberated and there are still nearly 1,000 U.S. troops in Syria. The main American base is in northern Syria, where a strip long enough to handle jet transports has been carved out of the Syrian plain. It’s industrial strength logistics only the American military can do and there’s no end in sight.”

As long ago as February, Trump had modified his position, indicating he would keep around 200 troops in Syria. It would seem the reduction is not near that level as yet.

While there has been some reduction in troop levels, there are still a significant number of troops in Syria.

The recent report on the resurgence of ISIS

A recent article describes the report generally: “Syrian forces backed by the United States are struggling to contain ISIS following President Donald Trump’s partial withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country, a Defense Department watchdog warned. The report found that ISIS consolidated its power in Iraq and mounted a resurgence in Syria.”

The story largely summarizes the view of US military commanders who oversee operations against ISIS. The commanders are of the view that in spite of losing all its territory the last being in Syria it still remains a threat:”The report says that ISIS retains between 14,000 and 18,000 members in Iraq and Syria, including about 3,000 foreign fighters. It also retains an extensive, global social media operation to recruit fighters.”

Other sources so far have not confirmed the figures cited in the report. The report seems to be an attempt to further persuade Trump to change his views on further reductions in troops in Syria. No doubt hawks in his administration will use the report as ammunition to urge Trump to send more troops to Syria and Iraq.

It should be noted that although combat missions supposedly ceased in Iraq way back in 2014 Wikipedia claims: “As of July 2, 2018, the US still maintains a limited military presence of 5,000 troops stationed in Iraq with the task of helping train and assist Iraqi forces.” So even with 5,000 troops ISIS is still claimed to be making a comeback in Iraq.

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