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President Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria could provide the ISIS terrorist group with the time and space to regrow its organization and extend its networks throughout the Middle East.

While the most immediate and visible consequence of the U.S. withdrawal has been an increase of tensions between the U.S. and Turkey, these and other second-order effects of this decision are less visible and may take a longer time to manifest.

The most obvious concern is that with the Kurds now focused on survival, the United States’ most capable partner on the ground in Syria – local militia forces consisting of the Syrian Democratic Forces and the People’s Protection Units – will devote fewer resources and manpower to combating ISIS. Kurdish fighters have ceased counterterrorism operations against ISIS.

US TROOPS LEAVING SYRIA WILL GO TO WESTERN IRAQ, DEFENSE CHIEF ESPER SAYS

As the Kurds are pulled away from guarding camps where ISIS prisoners and sympathizers are being detained and called to the front lines to fight against Turkish troops and Turkish-backed militias, detainment camps and prisons will grow significantly more vulnerable, with potentially dire implications for regional stability.

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Opinion