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US, China Warn of ISIS Resurgence in Syria

US, China Warn of ISIS Resurgence in Syria

Tuesday, 20 August, 2019 - 17:30
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo acknowledged on Tuesday that ISIS terrorists are gaining strength in some areas but said the group’s capacity to carry out attacks has been greatly diminished.

“It’s complicated. There are certainly places where ISIS is more powerful today than they were three or four years ago,” Pompeo said in an interview with CBS “This Morning.” But he said the group’s self-proclaimed caliphate is gone and its attack capability has been made much more difficult.

Pompeo was asked about a New York Times report that the extremist group was gaining new strength in Iraq and Syria.

President Donald Trump said in December that US troops succeeded in their mission to defeat ISIS in Syria and were no longer needed in the country. “We won,” he said at the time.

Pompeo said the plan to defeat ISIS in the region was executed with 80 other countries and was very successful.

In Geneva, a senior Chinese official said there was a danger of ISIS re-emerging in Syria and called for progress in the political process between the Damascus regime and the opposition to end the war.

“There is now a danger of terrorist organizations like ISIS being revived, we see some signs in some of the places,” Chinese Special Envoy Xie Xiaoyan told reporters after talks with UN Special Envoy Geir Pedersen.

“So, the fight against terrorism needs to be continued. They need to be finished,” he added. “The international community should pay attention to the early warning.”

China has also long urged a diplomatic resolution to Syria’s civil war.

Its top diplomat and State Councilor Wang Yi said in June that China will continue to support Syria to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity and fight against terrorism, and will help with Syria’s economic reconstruction efforts.

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