A new assessment by the Pentagon’s Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), released on Tuesday, claims that Trump’s pullout of US troops from northern Syria has assisted the Daesh terrorist group and ruined connections with Kurdish militia forces.
“[Daesh] 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,” according to the DIA assessment, released as part of a quarterly report by the Pentagon’s inspector general, Glenn Fine.
The inspector general said that without “counterterrorism pressure” the group may be able to more freely build clandestine networks and attempt to free Daesh members detained in prisons as well as family members living in refugee camps.
“In the longer term, [Daesh] will probably seek to regain control of some Syrian population centers and expand its global footprint,” the inspector general noted, citing the DIA report, which was scheduled to be released on 30 September before it was delayed due to” significant developments” that led to the pullout of US forces from the northeast of Syria.
According to the DIA report, the death of terrorist leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had “likely little effect” on the group’s “ability to reconstitute” as they “postured to withstand” their leader’s death.
In late October, Daesh named Abi Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Qurashi as its new leader, following the death of al-Baghdadi and his immediate likely successor, Abu Hassan al-Muhajir, who was killed in a US airstrike days after the group leader was taken out, according to US officials.