Joseph Votel, the top American general in the Middle East, says he disagreed with President Donald Trump’s decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria, CNN is reporting.
And Votel, who has been leading the war against ISIS as head of the U.S. Central Command, said the terror group has not been defeated.
"It would not have been my military advice at that particular time ... I would not have made that suggestion, frankly," Votel said of the decision to withdraw troops. "(The caliphate) still has leaders, still has fighters, it still has facilitators, it still has resources, so our continued military pressure is necessary to continue to go after that network."
And he added: “They still have this very powerful ideology, so they can inspire.”
Votel told CNN that American -- backed Syrian Democratic Forces could not defeat ISIS without continued U.S. support.
"They still require our enablement and our assistance with this," Votel said
“"We want (ISIS) to be able to be controlled or addressed by the indigenous partners, whether that's the Iraqi security forces in Iraq, or the Syrian Democratic Forces in Syria, that when they are capable of handling this threat on their own, without our assistance, that will be another key criteria indicating to me that we have accomplished our mission of defeat of ISIS."
Votel has previously said he was not consulted before Trump announced he would withdraw U.S. troops from Syria. Trump had also announced ISIS had been defeated in Syria.