One of the first things President Trump promised to do when he took office was defeat ISIS and it looks like the combined efforts of the United States and her allies have done it.
After a strategy under Obama which can only be described as weak and ineffective, Trump loosened the rules of engagement, increased air strikes by many fold, and better armed the Kurds, who have spearheaded this fight.
Today, the final ISIS stronghold fell.
BAGHOUZ, Syria — The caliphate has crumbled, and the final offensive is over. While the official announcement hasn’t yet been made – Fox News has been told that this village, the last ISIS stronghold, is liberated.
It’s the first time since we’ve been here in Syria for five days that the bombs have stopped dropping and the gunfire has disappeared. We have witnessed the end of the caliphate – the brutal empire that once ruled over 8 million people – is gone.
Troops here are now bringing down the black flags of ISIS. The flags no longer fly over the town, instilling fear.
More details of the fighting describe the last gasps of ISIS in the face of an overwhelming offensive to eradicate them.
The last five days, Fox News has witnessed the last major offensive up close -– with U.S.-backed SDF forces attacking ISIS from three sides, pushing the fighters back, house to house, then tent to tent, against the Euphrates River.
Inside Baghouz, it’s easy to see how they hid for so long – not just in tunnels but trenches and hundreds of cubby holes covered by tarpaulins, which blend in perfectly to the dirt.
In the end, the majority surrendered. In fact, since the start of the year about 60,000 have dripped into the desert, and most are now held in camps.
There is a major concern about what to do with the camps though. The SDF has asked for U.S. support in setting up a tribunal here to prosecute them.
While the partisan media in the U.S. will no doubt run to write fact-checks about how ISIS isn’t really defeated so as to snipe at President Trump, the reality is that the caliphate is over. Their territory is gone and their command and control structures are destroyed.
Will ISIS still exist as an ideology within pockets around the globe? Of course. You can’t defeat ISIS in that way any more than you can defeat radical Islam in general. The fact remains that brave men and women, both American and part of the SDF, did their duty and wiped these monsters out in so far as their ability to conduct themselves as a physical state. Their accomplishments shouldn’t be downplayed.
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