- The US-led coalition is close to retaking the last remaining pieces of ISIS controlled territory in the Middle Euphrates River Valley in Syria, according to the Pentagon.
- Acting Secretary of Defence Pat Shanahan said 100% of ISIS-controlled territory in Syria will be returned to the Syrians in “a couple of weeks.”
- Although the fall of the caliphate is imminent, it appears that the terrorist organisation is far from defeated, despite the president’s claims.
- Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats says ISIS “still commands thousands of fighters in Iraq and Syria.”
The US military, together with its coalition partners, is close to liberating the last of the ISIS-controlled territory in Syria, the Pentagon’s top official said Tuesday.
“I’d say 99.5% plus of ISIS-controlled territory has been returned to the Syrians,” Acting Secretary of Defence Pat Shanahan told reporters. “Within a couple of weeks, it will be 100%.”
“ISIS is no longer able to govern. ISIS no longer has freedom to mass forces. Syria is no longer a safe haven,” Shanahan added.
The secretary’s update that the fall of the physical caliphate in Syria is imminent comes weeks after President Donald Trump declared victory over the terrorist organisation.
“We have won against ISIS,” President Donald Trump announced last month, as he called for the withdrawal of American troops. “We’ve beaten them, and we’ve beaten them badly. We’ve taken back the land. And, now it’s time for our troops to come back home.”
Despite the president’s claims, many observers argue that ISIS is far from defeated, despite the organisation’s crumbling caliphate.
Direct of National Intelligence Dan Coats, commenting on the Worldwide Threat Assessment, stated Tuesday that ISIS “has returned to its guerrilla warfare roots while continuing to plot attacks and direct its supporters worldwide,” adding that “ISIS is intent on resurging and still commands thousands of fighters in Iraq and Syria.”
ISIS forces targeted a coalition patrol recently, killing two US service members, a Department of Defence civilian employee, and an American contractor.
Shanahan said, as others have, that there is still more work to be done, explaining that the planned troop withdrawal is still in the “early stages.”
Since Trump’s victory tweet, administration officials have said conflicting things about the timeline and full scope of the pullout, often indicating that this may be a long, drawn-out process.
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