The coalition against Islamic State have made significant progress in Iraq and Syria, but investments are needed to ensure the gains endure, the commander of US Central Command said today.
U.S, coalition and local partners have made immense contributions to security in the Centcom region, the “most complex area on the globe,” Army Gen. Joseph L. Votel told the Senate Armed Services Committee in a fiscal year 2019 budget hearing.
“In the past year, we have achieved incredible success against [the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria] in both Iraq and Syria,” the general told US lawmakers.
Votel commended the Iraqi security forces and the Syrian Democratic Forces for their steadfast efforts, noting they are “operating at their most effective levels.”
They have liberated over 98 percent of the territory previously held by IS, he said.
“The destruction of the physical caliphate is within our grasp,” Votel said.
“Investments in the security forces, relationships and capabilities are needed to hold territory and ensure the terrorists do not return. As we consolidate our gains in places like Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, we remain cleareyed about the challenges that the region continues to present,” Votel added.