Mr Mattis warned the region was now in “disarray” due to the invasion of Turkish forces and withdrawal of US troops. As a result of the chaos in the region, Mr Mattis also warned that ISIS forces thought to be hiding in the region as well as those already detained in prison camps. Speaking to NBC on Sunday, Mr Mattis said: “And in this case, if we don’t keep the pressure on, then ISIS will resurge.
“It’s absolutely a given that they will come back.”
”It’s in a situation of disarray right now.
”Obviously, the Kurds are adapting to the Turkish attacks.
“And we’ll have to see if they’re able to maintain the fight against ISIS.
Islamic State fighter (ISIS; ISIL) waving a flag while standing on captured government fighter jet i
A captured ISIS flag
“It’s going to have an impact. The question is, how much?”
The controversial decision from the White House has been attacked by leading Republican and Democratic lawmakers in Washington, who have argued that the withdrawal could lead to the resurgence of ISIS.
He also added said: ”I think Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the intelligence services, the foreign countries that are working with us have it about right that ISIS is not defeated.
“We have got to keep the pressure on ISIS so they don’t recover.
The ISIS flag
“We may want a war over. We may even declare it over.
“You can pull your troops out, as President Obama learned the hard way, out of Iraq, but the ‘enemy gets the vote,’ we say in the military’.”
Turkish troops have moved into the region after Trump gave in to Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and ordered the withdrawal of US troops from the region last week.
Donald Trump triumphantly told reporters recently: ”We’ve won. We’ve beat ISIS and we’ve beat them badly and decisively.
“We have no soldiers.
“The last thing I want to do is bring thousands and thousands of soldiers in and defeat everybody again.
“We’ve already done that.”
Trump has claimed for months that the extremist group has been defeated, despite the assessment of analysts.
The Middle East
Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has hit out at Trump repeatedly and led the opposition to the controversial withdrawal.
Mr Graham told Fox News last Monday: “ISIS is not defeated.
“This is the biggest lie being told by this administration.”
Turkey’s military incursion into Syria to battle various Kurdish groups are raising alarms with the US amid concerns that Islamic State prisoners could escape amid the chaos unfolding.
Turkey accuses the Kurds of being terrorists and says it wants to force them away from a “safe zone” reaching some 30km into Syria.
It also plans to resettle more than three million Syrian refugees currently in Turkey, many of whom are not Kurds, inside the zone, which critics say could lead to ethnic cleansing of the local Kurdish population there.
President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from the area effectively triggered the Turkish incursion against the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
The SDF were the main Western allies in the fight against IS.
US Defence Secretary Mark Esper said the US was now preparing to evacuate about 1,000 troops who remained in northern Syria.
Details of the escape are still emerging, a monitoring group put the number who fled at 100, but Kurdish authorities say almost 800 relatives of foreign ISIS members have escaped.
Ain Issa holds about 12,000 displaced people, previously including nearly 1,000 foreign women and children with jihadist links.
It is reportedly now empty of foreign women, according to the charity Save the Children, which says “foreign masked men on motorbikes are circling the camp”.
It is unclear where the detainees might have gone, if their escape is confirmed.
Amid this news five ISIS militants reportedly escaped from a different detention facility in Qamishli city earlier this weekend, according to Kurdish officials with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).