Pentagon: Islamic State could resurface in Syria within 6 months

US President Donald Trump says

US President Donald Trump says"it's time to bring home troops from Afghanistan More

The Republican president lamented "endless wars" in Syria and Afghanistan in an interview with CBS' Face The Nation that aired on Sunday (Feb 3) and made clear he wants to reduce the costly U.S. military presence in those countries despite warnings against such moves from his military advisers and spy chiefs.

Baghdad is firing back on Monday with calls to potentially boot US troops out of Iraq in response to President Donald Trump's comments that he wants to keep them there to "watch Iran". While the Kurds have proven themselves to be invaluable in the fight against ISIS in both Syria and Iraq, Turkey views all Kurds as terrorists because of the actions of an ethnically Kurdish militant group inside its own borders.

Critics have said that a vacuum left by the departure of usa troops from Syria, where they are assisting a Syrian Arab and Kurdish alliance fighting against fighters of the extremist group Islamic State (IS) and other forces, could result in a resurgence of the IS and Al-Qaeda in the war-torn country or neighboring Iraq.

"It is of fundamental interest for Iraq to have good relations with Iran" and other neighbouring countries, he added.

He said troops could keep an eye on Iranian activity from a base in Iraq, which he said the U.S. would not give up, though insisted he would not use it to attack the Islamic Republic.

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"I want to be able to watch Iran", Trump continued.

Trump's remarks that come weeks after the USA president sparked outrage in Iraq by visiting United States troops at Ain al-Asad base without meeting a single Iraqi official, are fuelling renewed calls for the expulsion of U.S. forces. "We have a base in Iraq and the base is a fantastic edifice", he said.

President Trump announced in December that the military would withdraw from Syria, but according to the Defense Department, approximately 2,000 ISIS fighters remained where USA forced had previously been operating.

Anchor Margaret Brennan asked the commander-in-chief if he wanted the troops there to "be able to strike in Iran?"

That is the president's plan, as he announced in December the complete withdrawal of US forces from Syria - a controversial move among his Pentagon chiefs and members of his own party. When President Obama pulled out of Iraq in theory we had Iraq.

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"We find these comments unusual", said Barham Salih, speaking at a forum in Baghdad.

"Members of parliament's security, defence and foreign relations committees are now working hard to determine the exact number and real mission of the U.S. forces in Iraq", a high-level Iraqi government source told The New Arab's Arabic edition.

Trump also added that "And I'll leave intelligence there".

One concern of Washington is that Iran is looking to build a crescent of influence spanning Iraq and Syria, reaching the Mediterranean. There are few USA troops on the ground actually fighting or providing targeting information.

"They're exhausted. Everybody's exhausted", Trump said. "We're going to keep watching and we're going to keep seeing and if there's trouble, if somebody is looking to do nuclear weapons or other things, we're going to know it before they do", he elaborated.

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