In a statement released Saturday, President Donald Trump noted recent victories over Islamic extremists in the Middle East, proclaiming “the end of the ISIS caliphate is in sight.”
The statement comes with news that ISIS has seen their capitals in Syria (Raqqa) and Iraq (Mosul) fall to American-backed forces. President Trump said with these victories, the U.S. involvement in the region will also change.
“The defeat of ISIS in Raqqah represents a critical breakthrough in our worldwide campaign to defeat ISIS and its wicked ideology,” he said. “With the liberation of ISIS’s capital and the vast majority of its territory, the end of the ISIS caliphate is in sight. We will soon transition into a new phase in which we will support local security forces, de-escalate violence across Syria, and advance the conditions for lasting peace, so that the terrorists cannot return to threaten our collective security again.”
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The US and its allies would support diplomatic negotiations to end the violence, to allow Syrian refugees to return to their homes, and to make way for “a political transition that honors the will of the Syrian people,” the President added.
US-backed forces fighting ISIS in Raqqa announced this week that “major military operations” in the city have ended and that the terrorist group has lost control of its self-declared capital.
In his statement Saturday, Trump emphasized that defeating ISIS was one of his campaign pledges and said he issued orders to give military commanders more authority to wage war against the terrorist group.
“As a result, ISIS strongholds in Mosul and Raqqah have fallen,” Trump said. “We have made, alongside our coalition partners, more progress against these evil terrorists in the past several months than in the past several years.”
Earlier this week, Trump said that the terrorist group wasn’t on the run before because “you didn’t have Trump as your President.”
“I totally changed rules of engagement. I totally changed our military. I totally changed the attitudes of the military, and they have done a fantastic job,” Trump told syndicated radio talk show host Chris Plante Tuesday. “ISIS is now giving up. They are giving up, they are raising their hands, they are walking off. Nobody has ever seen that before.”