President Donald Trump on Friday declared victory over the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) for at least the tenth time in the last two years, according to Newsweek.
Upon his arrival in Palm Beach, Florida, the president once again declared ISIS dead to reporters and displayed a map comparing Iraq and Syria at the height of ISIS power in 2014 to today.
“Here’s ISIS on election day,” he said.
He pointed to a swath of red signifying the group’s previous territorial hold, and then to one without any red.
“Here’s ISIS right now,” he said.
“You guys can have the map. Congratulations. I think it’s about time.”
Trump marked the milestone with celebratory tweets Friday afternoon.
“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,” he wrote in a pair of tweets. “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. Think about that before you destroy your lives and the lives of your family!”
….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. Think about that before you destroy your lives and the lives of your family!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 22, 2019
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday the US-led coalition had achieved “amazing” results in Syria but cautioned that “the threat from radical Islamic terrorism remains.”
The president’s declaration was almost immediately contradicted by reports from eyewitnesses and local forces in eastern Syria, where “the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces has struggled to root out militant holdouts who are dug in among civilians,” reports The Washington Post.
The Post reports:
Mustafa Bali, a spokesman for Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), said the battle had not eased up around the village of Baghouz, which has been the scene of an intense battle against militant holdouts.
“Heavy fighting continues around mount #Baghouz right now to finish off whatever remains of ISIS,” he said in a message on Twitter.
A U.S. military official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment publicly, said the SDF was still working “to clear pockets of ISIS from caves under Baghouz.”
The official said there appeared to be a few hundred militants remaining around Baghouz.