Sunday, August 6, 2017

Under Trump, gains against ISIS have ‘dramatically accelerated’

This video image released Aug. 3, 2017, by Hawar News Agency , a Syrian Kurdish activist-run media group, shows a fighter from the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces firing his weapon during clashes with Islamic State fighters in Raqqa, Syria. (HAWAR NEWS AGENCY/AP)
Nearly a third of territory reclaimed from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria since 2014 has been won in the past six months, due to new policies adopted by the Trump administration, a senior State Department official said Friday.
Brett McGurk, the State Department’s senior envoy to the anti-Islamic State coalition, said that steps President Trump has taken, including delegating decision-making authority down from the White House to commanders in the field, have “dramatically accelerated” gains against the militants.
Combined Islamic State losses in both countries since the group’s peak control in early 2015 total about 27,000 square miles of territory — 78 percent of militant holdings in Iraq and 58 percent in Syria. About 8,000 square miles have been reclaimed under Trump, McGurk said in a briefing for reporters.