US military commanders have said they have lost control over the air campaign in Syria and called for a cease-fire.
US Air Force Gen Robert Eby told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that it was “over.”
The general told the committee that the air war had been “totally over” and the United States had to start planning for a new phase of the conflict.
He said it was time to get on with rebuilding the country, which has been devastated by two years of war.
“We lost control, but it’s time to move on,” he said.
The general, the first to command US forces in the country since President Donald Trump took office in January, said he was confident the US military would defeat Islamic State (IS) militants in the future, but he said he did not know how long the war would last.
He said the US has lost a number of aircraft in the air, but that his own aircraft had not been lost.
Eby said he had a “very good” relationship with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who he called “a great guy.”
“We had a good conversation, and he’s done a tremendous job on our relationship,” he added.
“We’re moving forward, but we’re not there yet.”
Eby added that the US was still pursuing “some very ambitious objectives” to defeat IS in Syria, which had claimed responsibility for a series of attacks on Syrian government troops.
The general said that he had spoken to a number officials in his military command, and said he believed that they would be able to achieve “a lot of what we want to achieve in Syria.”
He said he hoped to make a final decision on the US air campaign at the end of the month.
The US is now the only country in the world that has a ground force, but is facing a growing number of attacks in Syria.
In the first nine months of the war, there were more than 3,500 US deaths, according to the latest count from the Congressional Research Service.
Eby’s comments came as US officials warned that US aircraft were being targeted by Syrian government forces in a deadly attack on a military base in the northern province of Deir al-Zor on Tuesday.
Rebels had earlier claimed responsibility, saying the US had fired rockets at a military training camp.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has accused Russia of supporting the rebels, which are fighting to overthrow him.
Last week, the US began launching air strikes against IS targets in Iraq, where Moscow has been providing air support.