The Central Command chief said that the US plans to step up its operations against ISIS in Syria.
Hundreds of American troops were left in the country to “secure the oil.”
RT reports: General Kenneth McKenzie spoke to reporters on the sidelines of a security-themed event in Manama, Bahrain on Saturday.
The US-led anti-IS operations in Syria are “expected to pick up in coming days and weeks,” he said. McKenzie also noted that about 500 US troops currently remain in eastern Syria.
US President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of troops from northeastern Syria in October. However, he later clarified that hundreds of soldiers would stay to secure the oilfields in the country.
The president has also repeatedly declared victory over IS in the past, and Defense Secretary Mark Esper claimed to have destroyed “the physical caliphate” in Syria. Despite that, experts at the Pentagon have been warning that the militants would likely resurge and renew their activities should the Americans leave.
The Syrian government and Russia, meanwhile, have been insisting that the US military presence in the country is illegal, since it was never authorized by Damascus. Moscow further accused Washington of facilitating and profiteering from illegal oil trading in the parts of Syria it controls.