Thursday, February 21, 2019 | ePaper

Trump expects to liberate 100 pc of ISIS territory by next week

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President Donald Trump told foreign ministers from the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS that he expect them to lose all territory by next week.



US President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he expected the ISIS to lose all remaining territory in Syria in a week as he pledged to stay focused on fighting the extremists.
Trump spoke to an international conference in Washington on the future of the battle against the group, also known as ISIS, after the US leader's sudden decision in December to order the pullout of all 2,000 US troops as he declared victory.
"The United States military, our coalition partners and the Syrian Democratic Forces have liberated virtually all of the territory previously held by ISIS in Syria and Iraq," Trump told senior officials from more than 70 countries meeting at the State Department.
Trump spoke to an international conference in Washington on the future of the battle against the group, also known as ISIS, after the US leader's sudden decision in December to order the pullout of all 2,000 US troops as he declared victory.
"The United States military, our coalition partners and the Syrian Democratic Forces have liberated virtually all of the territory previously held by ISIS in Syria and Iraq," Trump told senior officials from more than 70 countries meeting at the State Department.


"It should be formally announced sometime next week that we will have 100 percent of the caliphate," he said.
Trump said that the United States would remain "very, very tough" and encouraged efforts, including financial support, from other countries.
"Remnants-that's all they have, remnants-but remnants can be very dangerous," he said.
"Rest assured, we'll do what it takes to defeat every ounce and every last person within the ISIS madness and defend our people from radical Islamic terrorism," he said.
"The land is gone," he added, but warned of dangerous remnants of the group.
Mr Trump said "as countries in the region step up their commitments…we look forward to give our troops a warm welcome home" but he did not announce a timeline for withdrawal from Syria.
The US President thanked the UAE, Germany and Saudi Arabia for their increased financial commitments as part of the coalition.
Mr Trump's comments followed on from a statement by his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, reassuring the 79 nations represented at the event that the US is still leading the fight against ISIS.
Hosting officials from the alliance in Washington, Mr Pompeo stressed that the United States was not backing out of the fight after President Donald Trump announced the surprise withdrawal of troops from Syria in December.
"We all know why we're here - ISIS remains a menace, one that it's our generation's responsibility to stop," the top US diplomat said.
"We're entering an era of decentralised jihad and nature of the fight against ISIS is changing so we must be nimble in response," Mr Pompeo added.
He played down the US planned withdrawal from Syria saying it was a tactical change rather than a retreat in their involvement, adding that: "America will continue to lead in giving those who would destroy us no quarter".
Mr Pompeo returned to the need for all coalition partners to redouble efforts, work together militarily but also through intelligence sharing, financial and humanitarian assistance and through cooperation to ensure the total eradication of the militant group and its ideology.
Without giving detail, he said that partners need to be able to respond quickly to requests for action in the fight and that these requests would be coming soon.
The US diplomat urged all countries to take back ISIS foreign fighters, prosecute and punish them. America, unlike many other countries, has actively taken custody of US citizens who travelled to Iraq and Syria to join the militant group. The US has also requested custody of non-American nationals who have committed crimes that may be punishable under American law.
This includes two former British nationals, part of a group from the UK dubbed 'the Beatles' accused of the murder of journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and aid workers David Haines, Alan Henning and Peter Kassig. The two suspects are held by Western-backed Kurdish forces in Northern Syria and have been stripped of their British nationality.

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