A spokesman for the Department of Defense said on Tuesday that the U.S. military will remain in Syria as long as necessary to ensure the Islamic State does not return.

The Pentagon’s Eric Pahon told AFP that the approximately 2,000 U.S. soldiers who are in Syria to train and advise partner forces in the fight against ISIS will stay in the warn-torn country.

“We are going to maintain our commitment on the ground as long as we need to, to support our partners and prevent the return of terrorist groups,” Pahon said. “To ensure an enduring defeat of ISIS, the coalition must ensure it cannot regenerate, reclaim lost ground, or plot external attacks.”

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