The top U.S. general overseeing forces in the Middle East said Thursday that the fight against ISIS is "far from over", warning that the remnants of the terrorist group are maybe bracing themselves for resurgence.
"Reduction of the physical caliphate is a monumental military accomplishment but the fight against ISIS and violent extremism is far from over," Gen. Joseph Votel, the head of U.S. military's Central Command, told the House Armed Services Committee.
Votel noted that many ISIS militants have left the last strongholds held by the terror group and dispersed across Syria and Iraq.
"The ISIS population being evacuated from the remaining vestiges of the caliphate largely remains unrepentant, unbroken and radicalized," Votel said.
"We will need to maintain a vigilant offensive against this now widely dispersed and disaggregated organization that includes leaders, fighters, facilitators, resources and of course their toxic ideology," he added.
"What we are seeing now is not the surrender of ISIS as an organization but a calculated decision to preserve the safety of their families and the preservation of their capabilities by taking their chances in camps for internally displaced persons and going to ground in remote areas and waiting for the right time to resurge," Votel noted.
The U.S. general warned that the upcoming phase of the fight against ISIS will witness low-level attacks, assassinations, IED attacks, and "ambush type things".
"What our focus has to be is working with our partners on the ground as we are doing fairly effectively in Iraq now," he stated, saying that US intelligence, training and advising would be key to helping America's local allies combat the remnants of ISIS.