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Trump Displays Map, Says ISIS Will Be 'Gone by Tonight'

'Caliphate' reduced to tiny sliver of land
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 21, 2019 3:07 AM CDT
President Trump shows a map of Syria and Iraq as he speaks to reporters before leaving the White House Wednesday, March 20, 2019 to visit the Lima Army Tank Plant in Lima, Ohio.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
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(Newser) – ISIS is down to its last scrap of territory and it will be "gone by tonight," President Trump declared Wednesday, showing reporters at the White House two maps of Syria and Iraq. "I brought this out for you—this is a map of everything in the red, this was on election night, in 2016, everything red is ISIS," he said, pointing to a map with large areas in red. Pointing to a second map, he said: "When I took it over it was a mess, now on the bottom it's the exact same. There is no red," he said, ABC reports. "In fact there is a tiny spot which will be gone by tonight." At a tank factory in Ohio later in the day, Trump brought the maps out again, saying the "caliphate is gone as of tonight," the AP reports.

Trump has announced the imminent defeat of ISIS before, but the battle for the tiny enclave of Baghouz has dragged on for weeks longer than expected. Authorities say the offensive was slowed down when an unexpectedly large number of civilians fled the village—up to 30,000, most of them believed to be the families of militants. The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have now taken control of the village, though some fighters are still believed to be holed up with women and children in a sliver of land by a river. With that area still controlled by ISIS, "it would be weird to expect an announcement in the next day," an SDF official tells the New York Times. (At the Ohio factory, Trump continued his feud with the late John McCain.)

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