"I think Secretary of State Pompeo, the intelligence services, the foreign countries that are working with us have it about right that ISIS (Daesh) is not defeated. We have got to keep the pressure on ISIS so they don't recover," Mattis said in an interview on NBC News set to be aired on Sunday, Presstv Reported.
Mattis' warning comes after Trump defended his decision to pull American forces out of northern Syria in the face of mounting criticism.
Days after the US had withdrawn its forces and abandoned its Kurdish allies in the area, Turkey launched its military campaign there, dubbed Operation Peace Spring, which Ankara says is meant to purge the Syrian region of YPG militants. Turkey views YPG militants as terrorists linked to local autonomy-seeking militants of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
"You can pull your troops out, as President Obama learned the hard way, out of Iraq but the 'enemy gets the vote' as we say in the military. And in this case, if we don't keep the pressure on then ISIS will resurge. It's, it's absolutely a given that they will come back," Mattis continued.
This is while some independent analysts have said that America’s war against Daesh and other terrorist groups in the Middle East is “a total hoax” because Washington created these organizations to implement its policy there.
“America’s so-called war on terrorism is a total hoax. America isn’t waging war on ISIS (Daesh), or other terrorist groups, it created these groups, it is supporting them, it’s acting as its air force,” Stephen Lendman told Press TV.
Trump's move to withdraw troops from Syria was widely condemned by both Republican and Democratic Party lawmakers in Congress. House lawmakers are drafting a resolution to impose punitive sanctions on Turkey for its offensive in Syria.
Speaking before a crowd of evangelicals on Saturday, Trump did acknowledge that his choice was unpopular, but asserted that it was time to stop the participation of American troops in an “endless war.”
The US has "paid a lot of money to the Kurds over the years", he said, adding, but “don’t forget, they are fighting for their land, they haven’t helped us fight for our land.”
On Friday, the Pentagon said Washington was "greatly disappointed" by the Turkish incursion, noting the US had not abandoned its Syrian Kurdish allies to a Turkish military onslaught.