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US wants to bolster fight against Islamic State after its leader’s death

In the wake of the recent US military operation that resulted in the death of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the US “is determined to prevent a resurgence of ISIS in Syria and Iraq,” the US State Department said on Monday, adding that it “continues to work with the Global Coalition to destroy ISIS remnants and thwart its global ambitions.” The State Department also announced a Nov 14. meeting of foreign ministers to discuss the campaign against Islamic State, with a “particular focus on recent developments in northeast Syria and their relationship to stability and security of the region.”

Earlier this month, US President Trump decided to withdraw troops from northeastern Syria, a move that was widely condemned, including by several Republican lawmakers. In response to the US pullout, Turkey invaded the region, claiming that it wanted to fight terrorism and to create a “safe zone.” Russia and Turkey agreed on the establishment of such a zone recently, which means that part of northeastern Syria will remain under the control of Turkish and Russian forces, while US-allied Kurdish troops have been forced to leave the region. Trump now seems to be giving into the criticism he received over the decision. Last week, media reported that Washington was considering measures that could effectively reverse the US pullout from Syria, including the deployment of tanks and other heavy military hardware to northeastern Syria in order to protect oil fields against attacks from Islamic State fighters and other militant groups.

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