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"Their land is gone".

Opening a 79-nation conference in Washington on the fight against the group also known as ISIS, Pompeo also called on other nations to do more - including by funding Syria and Iraq and agreeing to bring home extremists jailed by Syrian Kurdish allies.

A Defense Department watchdog report released Monday says the Islamic State group "remains a potent force of battle-hardened and well-disciplined fighters that "could likely resurge in Syria" absent continued counterterrorism pressure". Jack Reed said administration's "contradictory statements" on a Syria withdrawal, "underscore that this decision was anything but thoughtful and deliberate".

Trump did not back down from his determination to withdraw, saying, "We look forward to giving our fearless warriors in Syria a warm welcome home".

In his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, Mr Trump said "virtually all" of the group's territory in Syria and Iraq had been liberated, saying it was "time to give our fearless warriors in Syria a warm welcome home".

US President Donald Trump on Tuesday said his administration is holding constructive talks with stakeholders in Afghanistan, including with the Taliban, and that it was now time to try for peace.

In December, a US official said Trump was planning to withdraw more than 5,000 USA troops in Afghanistan, triggering worries about whether a smaller force would be able to fulfill missions under way and stabilize the country. Trump toured the base on December 26 in his first overseas visit to USA troops.

"Our courageous troops have now been fighting in the Middle East for nearly 19 years".

The commander said while the original 34,000 square miles of territory held by the terrorist group has been reduced to less than 20 square miles, Daesh still retains leaders, fighters, facilitators and resources.

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Areas to the north (in blue) will likely see more sleet/ice pellets with some freezing rain mixing in from time to time. The likelihood of precipitation is low but that would be the likely precipitation type IF precipitation were falling.

He called it "a tactical change. not a change in the mission". "It does not change the structure, design or authorities on which the campaign has been based, it simply represents a new stage in an old fight".

President Trump also intends to address the 70 country coalition to defeat ISIS today at the State Department, he said. "That is why I announced that the United States is officially withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF Treaty".

Salih, speaking at an global forum in Baghdad, cautioned Trump against putting his own country's foreign policy agenda over Iraq's, stating that Trump should not "pursue your own policy priorities".

Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Ali al-Hakim also asked coalition partners to consider "the integrity of Syrian territory to maintain the great victory".

"Promoting human rights and religious freedom, including by combating anti-Semitism everywhere it exists, is a U.S. foreign policy priority that furthers our national interests of stability and democracy", he continued.

"At the first step, we want all the foreign forces to leave and end the military presence in our country", Sohail Shahin, a spokesman for a Taliban office in Qatar, said by telephone.

In the Senate, however, the bill became a flash point for the congressional GOP's standoff with Trump after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) offered last week an amendment effectively rebuking the president for announcing his intention to withdraw troops from Syria and Afghanistan.

The United States also has a large air base in Iraqi Kurdistan, but experts told Al-Monitor it's not clear that air operations from that site or monitoring from al-Asad could effectively disrupt Iran-backed supply lines, which are strung up along air, maritime and land-based corridors throughout the region.

Trump's comments were rejected by the current Iraqi President Bahram Salih.


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