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Iraqi Prime Minister Thanked Trump for 'Decisive' Support in Fight Against ISIS
By Kelly Cohen

Iraqi's prime minister thanked President Trump for the "decisive support" of the United States in the fight against the Islamic State, according to the White House.

A statement from the White House Office of the Press Secretary said that Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi called Trump on Sunday, and the two also discussed "accelerating the campaign to defeat remnants of ISIS and the need to work together to counter other threats in the region."

Trump told supporters in Iowa late last month that the U.S. would be "coming out of Syria very soon."

"We're knocking the hell out of ISIS. We'll be coming out of Syria like very soon. Let the other people take care of it now," Trump said on March 28. "We are going to have 100 percent of the caliphate, as they call it, sometimes referred to as land ... But we are going to be coming out of there real soon. We are going to get back to our country, where we belong, where we want to be."

There are currently U.S. troops embedded with a Kurdish-dominated military alliance in northern Syria and a pocket of Arab rebels in southeast Syria.

However, before Trump's announcement, the Pentagon admitted the offensive by U.S.-backed Kurdish and Arab fighters to retake the estimated remaining 2 percent of territory held by Islamic State in Syria has stalled.

"We will continue to support the SDF as they continue to fight against ISIS," said Dana White, the Pentagon's chief spokesperson. "We must not become distracted and reduce the pressure on ISIS."

Just this week, the U.S. Central Command said "much work remains."

"Ongoing operations by Iraqi Security Forces and Syrian Democratic Forces, supported by [the U.S.-led coalition force] efforts, demonstrate that much work remains to defeat Daesh here," U.S. Central Command said, using another term for the Islamic State, on Friday.

According to the White House, Trump and Abadi also discussed the reports of a deadly chemical attack near Damascus, and the "the importance of Iraqi unity in advance of the upcoming elections."

The United Nations Security Council is expected on Monday to hold an emergency meeting in response to the attack in the rebel-held city of Douma, where several activist groups reported that at least 42 civilians had died from a chemical attack.

Parliamentary elections are scheduled to be held in Iraq on May 12 to decide the 329 members of the Council of Representatives. The council then elects Iraq's president and prime minister.


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