NATO allies question US willingness to continue fighting IS

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NATO allies question US willingness to continue fighting IS

NATO allies question US willingness to continue fighting &# 171; IG&# 187;

Patrick Shanahan did not provide allies with information on the plan to withdraw US troops from Syria

MUNICH – 

And about. US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said on Friday that the US is not withdrawing from its commitment to combat the Islamic State in the Middle East and elsewhere. However, European allies are skeptical about the statements of the head of the Pentagon.

President Trump’s December decision to withdraw troops from Syria drew criticism not only in Europe. The president’s idea was not supported by his advisers, including former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who eventually resigned..

“While US troops are withdrawing from northeastern Syria, the US continues to adhere to the task of our coalition – this is the final victory over IS, both in the Middle East and in other regions,” Shanahan said in a closed meeting. which took place on the sidelines of today’s Munich Security Conference.

The meeting was attended by about ten defense ministers of countries belonging to the coalition to fight the Islamic State.

Shanahan said he would like to expand the coalition to confront IS around the world. “We will continue to support our partners in the fight against the remnants of IS,” he promised. heads of the Pentagon.

The heads of European defense ministries noted that during the closed meeting, Shanahan did not provide them with additional information, and they did not receive answers to many questions..

NATO allies question US willingness to continue fighting IS

“We’re still trying to figure out how the Americans are planning to get out (from Syria),” a European official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters..

The agency’s interlocutor said that Shanahan did not provide the allies with details of the plan for the withdrawal of American troops from Syria, in connection with which many participants in the meeting expressed their skepticism about the seriousness of the US intentions..

A Pentagon source confirmed to Reuters that the timeframe for the withdrawal of American troops from Syria was not discussed during the meeting. According to him, ministers from allied countries spoke about the need to guarantee their security after the US left the region..

Republican Senator Lindsay Graham, speaking at a conference in Munich, said American generals will ask allies to send additional forces to help stabilize the situation in areas that have been liberated from Islamists..

The French were skeptical about this idea.

“As soon as the Americans leave, we will also be forced to leave. We are not going to become American puppets, ”a French diplomat told Reuters. The interlocutor of the agency added that he does not see other forces ready to fill the void that will arise after the US withdraws from Syria..

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