General Mark Milley, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Jordanian TV on Thursday that US forces illegally occupying oil fields in Syria’s northeast will remain there for the foreseeable future to “fight ISIS.”
“The ideology is not yet dead, and there are some ISIS terrorists that are still roaming the deserts of Syria and somewhat into Iraq, so that presents a threat,” Milley told Jordan’s Al-Mamlaka TV.
“There are still fighters in small groups in and around Syria and around Iraq… and if we were to somehow suddenly withdraw, those forces could reconstruct themselves. So the situation is much, much better than it was. But it still requires a level of commitment. So we’ve got some modest amount of forces in Syria, and we’ve got forces in Iraq,” he added.
The US military chief also said that the decision to leave Syria falls on President Joe Biden. “I can’t imagine that the United States would ever walk away from [West Asia]. I think we’ll remain committed for many, many years and decades to come,” he stressed.
He said this a day after the US envoy to Iraq confirmed that large-scale troop movements in Iraq are “part of the exchange of existing forces.” Iraqi officials previously said that hundreds of US troops moving inside Iraq were on their way to Syria.