Dozens of Islamic State militant group (ISIS) fighters have defected from the group in Aleppo to join a rival Islamist group, according to amateur footage released on Sunday. The video shows a purported deserter holding up his ISIS identity card, while dozens of men walk along a dusty road in the background. He tells the person…
In late 2018, President Donald Trump announced the U.S. would withdraw almost all of its troops from Syria, saying the Islamic State terror group had been defeated and there was no longer a reason to deploy U.S. forces in the war-torn nation.
The announcement led to the resignation of former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who reportedly felt the drawdown was premature.
In the months since Trump announced the defeat of IS, he has wavered on whether the group has been vanquished. Sometimes he predicted that total victory would come in hours or days, while other times he has doubled down on the claim that the IS threat has been eliminated.
Here’s a chronology of claims concerning the demise of Islamic State.
Dec. 19, 2018 — Trump declared, “We have won against ISIS,” in a video released by the White House, to explain why the U.S. was pulling most of its troops out of Syria.
Dec. 22, 2018 — Trump tweets that “ISIS is largely defeated and other local countries, including Turkey, should be able to easily take care of whatever remains.”
Jan. 16, 2019 — Vice President Mike Pence declares in a speech at the State Department that “the caliphate has crumbled and ISIS has been defeated.” Earlier that day, four Americans were killed in Syria by an IS suicide bomber.
Jan. 30, 2019 — Trump tweets about the “tremendous progress” made in Syria and that the IS “Caliphate will soon be destroyed.”
Feb. 1, 2019 — Trump repeats that “We will soon have destroyed 100 percent of the Caliphate.”
Feb. 3, 2019 — Trump tells CBS News, “We will be announcing in the not too distant future 100 percent of the caliphate, which is the area — the land, the area — 100. We’re at 99 percent right now, we’ll be at 100.”
Feb. 6, 2019 — Trump predicts that the declaration that the coalition has captured all IS holdings “should be formally announced sometime, probably next week.”
Feb. 10, 2019 — Trump tweets that the U.S. will control all former IS territory in Syria “soon.”