February 5, 2019 / 3:58 PM / 7 months ago

U.S. general says wasn't consulted on Trump's Syria pullout order

General Joseph L. Votel, Commander of United States Central Command (CENTCOM) speaks during the Change of Command U.S. Naval Forces Central Command 5th Fleet Combined Maritime Forces ceremony at the U.S. Naval Base in Bahrain, May 6, 2018. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. military commander overseeing American troops in the Middle East told a Senate hearing on Tuesday that he was not consulted ahead of President Donald Trump’s surprise decision in December to pull U.S. troops out of Syria.

“I was not consulted,” said U.S. General Joseph Votel, head of the U.S. military’s Central Command, while acknowledging Trump had publicly expressed a desire to leave Syria at some point.

The disclosure came as Votel warned about an enduring threat from the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq that will persist following a U.S. withdrawal.

Reporting by Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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