11:53 GMT +315 December 2018
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    DAESH signs are pictured in Bad el Beid area during a battle between Iraqi forces and DAESH militants, in the city Mosul, Iraq March 18, 2017.

    Great Power Competition in Middle East Hinders Anti-Daesh Campaign - US General

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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States believes that great power competition in the Middle East obstructs efforts to combat the Daesh terrorist group, the head of the US military’s Central Command Army General Joseph Votel said in sworn testimony to Congress on Tuesday.

    "Resurgence of great power competition is our principal security challenge. And we see the effects of that competition throughout the (Middle East) region. Russia's support for the Assad regime is not only propping them up but it is also adding complexity to the defeat IS [Daesh*] campaign," Votel told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

    READ MORE: Iraqi Military Reportedly Finds US Army Rations in Cave Used by Daesh (PHOTOS)

    Votel also accused Russia of trying to manipulate the situation in Syria, saying this puts the anti-Daesh campaign's progress at risk.

    The US general said Moscow feeds "tensions between the Syrian regime, Iran, Turkey, the Syrian Democratic Forces, US and other coalition partners while serving as a supposed arbiter to resolve these disputes."

    The US administration presented a new national defense strategy earlier this year. The document considers great power competition Washington's primary focus in national security.

    *Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS) is a terrorist group banned in Russia

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    competition, Daesh, United States, Russia, Middle East
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