Terrorism expert: Trump's retreat from Syria 'created a perfect situation for ISIS'

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With the U.S. withdrawal and Kurdish forces scattered, the terror group is establishing a new foothold in the region.

Donald Trump's sudden decision to pull U.S. troops from northern Syria was a massive gift to ISIS, terrorism experts say.

"The withdrawal of the U.S. from northern Syria and the destabilization that has ensued has created a perfect situation for ISIS to capitalize on," Rita Katz, executive director of the SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks online extremist activity, told the Washington Post Thursday evening.

Supporters of the terror group have been celebrating as hundreds of ISIS-aligned prisoners escaped in the wake of Trump's announcement that he would withdraw from the region earlier in October.

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According to the Post, pro-ISIS social media accounts have been active in the wake of that decision.

"Prison breaks are happening. The imminent return of the Islamic State is assured by the command of Allah," one commenter wrote.

ISIS has also been increasing its attacks against Kurdish forces, detonating car bombs near prisons, in the hopes that more prisoners will escape.

Former intelligence officials told NBC News last week that Trump's decision "set the conditions for potential reemergence [of ISIS] in a very powerful way.

"I've worked directly with the SDF and had many fighters from the group I grew to trust with my life," one former CIA officer said. "Now, I realize they are all going to be killed or detained after we betrayed them — killed with weapons we gave to Turkey."

Trump's decision to abandon the Kurds and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), allies who fought alongside the United States in the war against ISIS, came after an Oct. 6 conversation with Turkish President During that call, Trump acknowledged a planned Turkish military operation in the region.

In a White House announcement following the call, Trump appeared to greenlight the Turkish operation.

He has since condemned the strikes, warning Turkey that he would destroy its economy if it does not follow through on supposed promises to protect civilians in the region.

A majority of Americans (54%) see the escape of ISIS prisoners as a threat to the region, according to a USA Today/Ipsos poll released Friday, and the same percent say Trump's decision to retreat from Syria damages the United States' reputation as a trusted ally.

Over the past year, Trump repeatedly claimed ISIS was "100% defeated."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.