ISIS is 100 Percent Eliminated: White House

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
March 22, 2019US News
ISIS is 100 Percent Eliminated: White House
Heavy smoke rises above the ISIS's last remaining position in the village of Baghouz during battles with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), in the countryside of the eastern Syrian province of Deir Ezzor on March 18, 2019. (Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty Images)

The territorial caliphate of the ISIS terror group has been 100 percent eliminated, the White House said on March 22.

The Islamist caliphate controlled large swaths of land and millions of people in the Middle East during former President Barack Obama’s time in office, but after President Donald Trump was sworn in, the military has focused on hammering the group.

White House press secretary made the elimination announcement to reporters flying on Air Force One.

She showed two maps, one showing the territory that ISIS controlled several years ago, with the land shaded red, and a second one meant to indicate the present day that showed the region without any red.

ISIS last piece of territory
Columns of black smoke rise from the last small piece of territory held by ISIS terrorists as U.S.-backed fighters pound the area with artillery fire and occasional airstrikes, as seen from outside Baghouz, Syria, on March 3, 2019. (Sarah El-Deeb/AP)

“She announced that the territorial ISIS caliphate has been 100 percent eliminated in Syria,” according to a pool reporter. She said that acting Department of Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan was on the plane and briefed the president on the situation.

The plane touched down at Palm Beach International airport in Florida just before noon.

Her announcement comes one day after the final ISIS stronghold was reportedly liberated by American and allied forces, including the Syrian Democratic Forces.

Ten minutes later, Trump deplaned and greeted supporters. He displayed the same maps, which were combined into a single map, telling them: “Here’s ISIS on Election Day. And here’s ISIS right now.”

He also told reporters, “You guys can have the map. Congratulations,” and “spread it around.”

Additionally, he confirmed that he’d been briefed by Shanahan during the flight.

Unnamed officials told Reuters on Thursday that fighting between American-backed forces and ISIS militants continued in the last part of territory the terror group holds and a Syrian Defense Forces spokesman said fighters from the group were clashing late Thursday with militants in multiple positions where the militants refused to surrender.

Trump on March 20 also displayed a before-and-after map, declaring that ISIS would be “gone by tonight.”

Holding a map in his hand, Trump said that  “we’re leaving 200 people there, and 200 people in another place in Syria, closer to Israel.”

“When I took over, it was a mess,” he added, speaking to reporters in Washington.

Pointing to the bottom of the map, which showed virtually no territory controlled by ISIS, “there is no red,” the president added.

There is a “tiny spot which will be gone by tonight,” he added. “This just came out 20 minutes ago,” he said.

“That’s the way it goes,” he added.

Trump took to Twitter on Friday to add some thoughts, saying: “ISIS uses the internet better than almost anyone, but for all of those susceptible to ISIS propaganda, they are now being beaten badly at every level.”

“There is nothing to admire about them, they will always try to show a glimmer of vicious hope, but they are losers and barely breathing,” he added. “Think about that before you destroy your lives and the lives of your family!”

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