The Islamic State group took advantage of both the US withdrawal from northeastern Syria and the Turkish incursion to regroup and could prepare new attacks on the West, a report from the Pentagon said Tuesday.
President Donald Trump said on October 6 around 1,000 US troops were leaving northeast Syria, where they had kept an uneasy peace between neighbouring Turkey and Syrian Kurdish fighters.
Trump’s move allowed an incursion by Turkey aimed at destroying Kurdish guerrillas, who had led the fight against the Islamic State group and run jails for captured extremists in their effectively autonomous area in northern Syria.
Trump, who was strongly criticized even by allies in his own camp, has changed course several times, eventually announcing that a residual force would remain in Syria to protect oil fields.
“ISIS exploited the Turkish incursion and subsequent drawdown of US troops to reconstitute capabilities and resources within Syria and strengthen its ability to plan attacks abroad,” the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General said in a report, using a common acronym for the IS group.