The Islamic extremist group ISIS is nearing its end in Iraq, and coalition forces are launching clearing operations against the group in eastern Syria. While the terrorist organization may still persist in some form, its so-called “caliphate” may soon be obsolete.
The Trump administration has taken a strong stance against ISIS. A report from the U.S. Air Force shows that in the last eight months, it has released more weapons on ISIS—32,801, as of August—than it did in all of 2016 under the Obama administration, when 30,743 weapons were dropped.
In August alone, the Air Force released 5,075 weapons, compared to the monthly record number last year of 3,160, dropped in June 2016.
President Donald Trump took to Twitter to mark the developments, stating, “We have made more progress in the last nine months against ISIS than the Obama Administration has made in 8 years. Must be proactive & nasty!”
We have made more progress in the last nine months against ISIS than the Obama Administration has made in 8 years.Must be proactive & nasty!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2017
Trump has been removing red tape from the military and has placed more control of military operations in the hands of Defense Secretary James Mattis. For Operation Inherent Resolve, the military operations of the United States and its coalition of allies against ISIS, Mattis is using an “annihilation” strategy, which he described in a May interview on the CBS show “Face the Nation.”
“Our strategy right now is to accelerate the campaign against ISIS. It is a threat to all civilized nations. And the bottom line is, we are going to move in an accelerated and reinforced manner, throw them on their back foot,” Mattis told host John Dickerson.
“Our intention is that the foreign fighters do not survive the fight to return home to North Africa, to Europe, to America, to Asia, to Africa,” he said. “We’re not going to allow them to do so. We’re going to stop them there and take apart the caliphate.”
According to the Global Coalition Against Daesh (an Arabic acronym for ISIS), since August 2014 the Islamist extremist organization has lost about 70 percent of the territory it controlled in Iraq and about 51 percent of its territory in Syria.
As the Coalition moves forward, it is working to stabilize liberated areas, and taking actions to counter ISIS propaganda, stop its flow of fighters, and cut off its streams of funding.
According to the Department of Defense, the combined task force began its “ISIS clearing operation” in eastern Syria on Sept. 9. Army Lt. Gen. Paul E. Funk II said that “the very existence of ISIS poses a real threat to the civilized world and our way of life. Our collective effort will defeat them.”
Similar operations are taking place in Iraq. The spokesman for the combined task force, Col. Ryan Dillon, stated during a Sept. 14 press briefing that “the past week saw steady progress in Iraq as our Iraqi Security Force partners keep up the fight to eradicate ISIS from Iraq.”
Dillon stated that in clearing operations in and around Tal Afar, the coalition has “encountered and defeated pockets of remaining ISIS fighters.”
He outlined operations throughout Iraq and Syria to destroy ISIS, kill its leaders, bomb its facilities, counter its propaganda, and assist the local civilians. He said, “We still expect tough fighting ahead, but with our partners’ battlefield successes, increased capacity, and continued support from a 73-member coalition, we will keep the pressure on until ISIS is defeated.”