In a briefing at the U.S. Department of State on March 25, Special Representative for Syria Engagement and Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS Ambassador James Jeffrey discussed ISIS’s territorial defeat and next steps in Syria and the D-ISIS campaign.
The Ambassador discussed an important new development in the effort to defeat ISIS -- the recent, final victory against the last ISIS territorial caliphate positions along the Euphrates in Syria. Ambassador Jeffrey emphasized that while this is not the end of the fight against ISIS, the nature of the fight will change moving forward given ISIS' loss of its ability to project power as well as its loss of possession of a recruiting base in an area it can control. This territorial defeat was carried out by a coalition of 79 countries and organizations led by the United States.
The Ambassador took a moment to reflect on gains made in the fight against ISIS. He said, "At the height of ISIS’s power it controlled 40,000 square miles, at the beginning of this administration 20,000. It lost all of that territory. It had almost 8 million people under its sway. Now it has no one. It had somewhere between 35,000 and 100,000 fighters. They’re all in prison or dead or fled."
The Ambassador also noted that efforts are now underway to deal with immediate humanitarian, reconstruction, and stability concerns, as well as counterinsurgency against ISIS in the northeast of Syria and neighboring Iraq.
In closing, Ambassador Jeffrey took a moment to thank our partners from the Iraqi military, the Syrian SDF, members of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, as well as the United States military for their sacrifices in this fight.
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