ISIS Down to Its Last Scrap of Land

Group's last stronghold in Iraq and Syria is the size of Central Park
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 7, 2019 1:46 AM CST
President Trump speaks at the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS meeting at the State Department in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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(Newser) – The territory of the sprawling caliphate ISIS declared in 2014 should be completely liberated from the group by next week, President Trump announced Wednesday at a meeting of coalition partners. "Their land is gone. It's a big factor—their land is gone," the president told a gathering of foreign ministers and other officials from the 79 other countries in the coalition battling the group. "It should be announced, probably some time next week, that we will have 100% of the caliphate," Trump said. He added, however, that he wanted to "wait for the official word" from the US military, the BBC reports.

Earlier in the State Department meeting, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sought to reassure coalition partners that they were not being abandoned, reports Reuters. "The US troops withdrawing from Syria is not the end of America’s fight," he said. "The drawdown in troops is essentially a tactical change, it is not a change in the mission. It simply represents a new stage in an old fight." The New York Times reports that the last scrap of territory ISIS holds in Iraq and Syria is a patch of land about the size of Central Park in eastern Syria's Deir al-Zour province; its holdings used to be the size of Britain. In recent weeks, thousands of people, including Islamic State fighters and their families, have been fleeing the village of Baghuz to surrender to coalition forces. (On Tuesday, Republican senators broke with Trump over his Syria withdrawal plan.)

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