ISIS could reclaim territory in months without military pressure, warns Pentagon in draft report

A draft Pentagon report warns that without continued pressure, ISIS could regain territory in six to 12 months, according to two U.S. officials familiar with the draft.

The finding is in a draft of the Department of Defense Inspector General Quarterly Report about Operation Inherent Resolve that is expected to be released early next week. The report draws on information from the U.S. military, U.S. government agencies, and open source reports.

The draft says ISIS is intent on reconstituting a physical caliphate and that with ungoverned spaces in Syria and no military pressure, the terror group could retake land in a matter of months, according to the officials familiar with the report.

The report covers the three months from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, 2018. President Donald Trump announced in mid-December that the U.S. military would be leaving Syria.

The Defense Department Office of Inspector General declined to comment on the report prior to its release. The National Security Council had no immediate comment.

The number of U.S. troops in Syria has spiked to around 3,000 in recent days as more troops have moved in to help with the withdrawal, according to defense officials. Logistical support and security forces are in the country to help move equipment and eventually troops out.

 

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