Bringing out a slightly different, and yet profoundly monumental, map President Donald Trump showed to reporters on Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the ISIS caliphate has officially been defeated.
“You guys can have the map. Congratulations!” Trump told reporters as he exited Air Force One confirming the end of ISIS caliphate – @PressSec showed it to reporters earlier pic.twitter.com/sv3EFmKQ39
— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) March 22, 2019
“The territorial caliphate has been eliminated in Syria.” – @PressSec
— J.D. Durkin (@jiveDurkey) March 22, 2019
While ISIS has lost all of its territory, it does not mean all of the fighters have given up. CNN’s Ben Wedeman reported there is still some ongoing fighting in eastern Syria. As he was giving his report, gunfire can be heard and flares could be seen.
When asked why it has taken a seemingly long time to dislodge the ISIS fighters from the small area, Wedeman said the forces are trying to avoid civilian casualties.
“Basically the problem is that the Syrian Democratic Forces, and we assume along with them, the Americans, the British and French wildly underestimated the number of civilians who were inside. When I came here 49 days ago, we were being told there was a mere 1,500 civilians and 500 jihadi in a larger area, but it turned out there was 30,000 civilians, many of them wives and children of ISIS jihadis, as well as a thousand jihadis still inside,” he said.
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