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Focus Remains on Enduring Defeat of ISIS, Military Official Says

Jan. 22, 2020 | BY Terri Moon Cronk , DOD News

Even amid significant successes, the enduring defeat of ISIS remains the focus of U.S. forces and partners in Iraq and Syria, an effort that is vital to U.S. national security, the deputy commander of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve said.

Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon today, Air Force Maj. Gen. Alexus G. Grynkewich said important progress has been made lately in the OIR realm.

"I would say [we've made] very good progress, to the point we're able to shift the focus of CJTF-OIR more along the lines of training, advising and assisting the Iraqi security forces and the Syrian Democratic Forces on the Syrian side of the border, and they've shown themselves to be willing partners throughout the last nine months I've been deployed there," the general said.

A major general speaks to reporters.
OIR Press Conference
Air Force Maj. Gen. Alexus G. Grynkewich, deputy commander, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, updates Pentagon reporters on the enduring defeat of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, Jan. 22, 2020.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class James Lee, DOD
VIRIN: 200122-D-WA993-2019

The big picture he added, is that ISIS still poses a threat.

"They have the potential to resurge if we take pressure off of them for too long a period of time," Grynkewich said. "In the short term, as we've adjusted some of our activities downrange and in Iraq and Syria, I don't think there's an immediate threat of an immediate resurgence. But the more time we take pressure off them, the more that threat will continue to grow."

The United States stays in constant contact and communication with its partners in Iraq and Syria, who have been helpful in assisting the United States with force-protection concerns over the last several weeks, Grynkewich said. 

Soldiers man their weapons.
Base Brigade
U.S. Army soldiers from 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, Task Force Iraq, man defensive positions at Forward Operating Base Union III in Baghdad, Dec. 31, 2019.
Photo By: Army Maj. Charlie Dietz
VIRIN: 191231-A-JO541-001

In Syria, he said, the United States continues to partner with the SDF in addition to its efforts to secure critical infrastructure to prevent any of it from falling back into the hands of ISIS.