The withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria is expected to begin within “weeks,” according to the top American commander in charge of troops in the Middle East. Speaking to reporters Sunday, Gen. Joseph Votel, the chief of the U.S. Central Command, declined to offer a specific timeline on how long the pullout ordered by President Trump would take, but said “I think we’re right on track with where we wanted to be.” His comments came after Trump reiterated his prediction of complete victory over the Islamic State terror group as U.S.-backed fighters were in the midst of heavy fighting in the last remaining ISIS-controlled areas near the Iraqi border. “The U.S. will soon control 100% of ISIS territory in Syria,” Trump tweeted Sunday. Votel, who told the Senate Armed Services Committee last week that he had not been consulted before the pullout of U.S. forces was announced, also said Sunday that he believes there are still “tens of thousands” of ISIS fighters scattered across Syria and Iraq, according to CNN. “They are dispersed and disaggregated, but there is leadership, there are fighters there, there are facilitators there,” he said.
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