President declares Islamic State '100 percent' eliminated in Syria

Terror group once controlled large parts of Syria and Iraq.

Posted: Mar 22, 2019 12:06 PM

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — All Islamic State-held territory in Syria has been"100 percent" eliminated, the White House announced Friday, though officials said sporadic fighting continues on the ground between coalition forces and the group's holdouts.

The complete fall of the last IS stronghold in Baghouz, Syria, would the end of the Islamic State group's self-declared caliphate, which at its height stretched across large parts of Syria and Iraq. Controlling territory gave it room to launch attacks around the world.

President Donald Trump said Friday "it's about time" that the group no longer controls territory in the region, after a campaign by U.S. and coalition forces that spanned five years and two U.S. presidencies, unleashed more than 100,000 bombs, and killed untold numbers of civilians.

U.S. officials familiar with the situation in Syria said again Friday that the Syrian Democratic Forces are still battling the last remaining IS fighters who are holed up in tunnels along the river cliffs in Baghouz and have refused to surrender.

Officials said that the SDF has not announced any declaration of victory, and there was no announcement planned for Friday.

According to the officials, the SDF is moving slowly and carefully, and is willing to wait out the IS fighters who are out of food and low on water. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss mission details.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters aboard Air Force One that Trump was briefed about the development by acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan

Trump showed reporters a map of Iraq and Syria that showed that the terror group no longer controlled any territory in the region. "Here's ISIS on election day," he said, pointing to a swath of red area signifying the group's previous territorial gains, and then to one without any red, "Here's ISIS right now."

Trump has been teasing the victory for days, most recently Wednesday when he said the milestone would be achieved by that night, but sleeper cells of fighters have re-emerged.

Article Comments

Mason City
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 69°
Albert Lea
Scattered Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 70°
Austin
Broken Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 73°
Charles City
Overcast
66° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 66°
Rochester
Broken Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 70°
Tracking an active pattern to end the work week
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Sudan crisis being felt in Rochester

Image

Tracking Another Round of Fog This AM

Image

A rally for Sudan will happen in Rochester

Image

MILLIONS of pop tabs!

Image

Chris Nelson's PM Weather Forecast

Image

Stewartville hosts first ever all-comers track meet

Image

Two nursing homes deemed lacking oversight

Image

New amphitheater at Fossil & Prairie Park

Image

Energy progress report

Image

Downtown historic district his road block.

Community Events