The United States and its partners have made significant progress in Iraq and Syria, but investments are needed to ensure the gains endure, the commander of U.S. Central Command said Tuesday.
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 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 ISIS, he said.
“The destruction of the ISIS physical caliphate is within our grasp,” Votel said.