WASHINGTON, DC — About 30 percent of the territory the American-led coalition has retaken from the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) in Iraq and Syria since 2014 has been liberated under U.S. President Donald Trump’s watch, a senior State Department official tells reporters.
In total, the U.S.-led coalition has re-conquered 27,000 square miles (about 78 percent) of the 35,000 square miles ISIS is believed to have controlled at its peak in Iraq and Syria in early 2015.
Brett McGurk, the State Department’s special envoy to the anti-ISIS coalition, revealed on Friday that 8,000 square miles (about 30 percent) of the liberated territory has been cleared in the first six-months of President Trump’s administration.
ISIS still holds about 20 percent of the land it controlled at the beginning of 2015 when its so-called caliphate began to crumble.
Steps President Trump has taken, including delegating decision-making authority down from the White House to military officials on the battlefield, have fueled the U.S.-led coalition’s gains against ISIS jihadists, according to McGurk.
“Over the last six months, we have dramatically accelerated this campaign,” he told reporters, later adding, “Nearly 30 percent of all the territory that has been retaken from ISIS … has actually happened in the last six months.”
— Department of State (@StateDept) August 5, 2017
McGurk also attributed the increase in ISIS losses to other “key changes” under Trump, including a “campaign of annihilation” that has primarily concentrated on surrounding cities held by the jihadist group before launching full offensives, to ensure terrorists “cannot escape.”
Trump’s delegation of decision-making authority has allowed much greater U.S. military responsiveness to unforeseen circumstances, pointed out the envoy.
“The delegation of tactical authority from the White House, from Washington, down through the chain of command to our commanders on the ground,” he said. “That has made a fairly tremendous difference in our ability to actually seize opportunities from ISIS.”
— Brett McGurk (@brett_mcgurk) August 7, 2017
In Raqqa alone, the U.S.-backed local forces have already liberated 45 percent of the city, considered ISIS’s de facto capital in Syria.
Citing McGurk and the London-based defense research firm IHS Markit, Breitbart News determined last month that ISIS has lost most more than two-thirds of the area it once controlled in Iraq and Syria.
Of the 27,000 square miles the U.S.-led coalition and local forces have retaken from ISIS, “78 percent” is in Iraq and 58 percent in Syria, reports the Washington Post (WaPo).