US President Donald Trump announced on Friday that the ISIS terrorist group no longer holds territory in Syria, saying it was “100 percent defeated.”
“Here’s ISIS on Election Day. And here’s ISIS right now,” Trump said, as he displayed a before-and-after map to reporters, with the “before” portion full of red dots and the after-map empty.
“You guys can have the map. Congratulations,” Trump said. “I think it’s about time.” The president has previously displayed a map illustrating the diminution of ISIS.
Trump has said ISIS no longer holds territory several times over the past few weeks. But US officials told Reuters that fighting still continued late into Thursday between US-backed forces Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and ISIS militants in the last remaining territory it holds.
Earlier on Friday, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters ISIS no longer held any territory in Syria and that US acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan had briefed the president on the milestone as he was traveling to Florida on Air Force One.
The SDF battled ISIS militants holed up in the Baghouz area overnight, supported by US-led coalition air strikes, the SDF said, seeking to defeat the last pockets of the group’s resistance.
The SDF has been battling for weeks to defeat ISIS in the Baghouz enclave in southeastern Syria at the Iraqi border, all that remained of the territory the militants ruled, which once spanned a third of Syria and Iraq.
While the SDF has captured most of the area, Mustafa Bali, head of the SDF media office, told Reuters SDF fighters were clashing late on Thursday with ISIS in more than two positions where they were refusing to surrender.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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