Trump: ISIS could lose remaining territory within week

FOX News

STATE DEPARTMENT – The Islamic State (ISIS) will likely lose control of its remaining territory next week, President Trump said Wednesday. "It should be formally announced that sometime, probably next week, that we will have 100 percent of the caliphate," Trump said at a summit of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. "I want to wait for the official word. I don't want to say it too early." Senior diplomats from nearly 80 countries gathered Wednesday at the State Department for a meeting of the growing anti-ISIS coalition.

U.S. won't cede helm in fight against Islamic State despite Syria pullout, Mike Pompeo assures coalition

The Japan Times

WASHINGTON - America will not cede leadership of the fight against the Islamic State group, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday, as he tried to allay fears that President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw forces from Syria could imperil gains against the militants there and neighboring Iraq. Trump's announcement in December shocked U.S. allies and led to the resignations of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and the top U.S. envoy to the anti-IS coalition, Brett McGurk. While the withdrawal would fulfill a Trump goal, U.S. military leaders have pushed back for months, arguing IS remains a threat and could regroup. U.S. policy had been to keep troops in place until the extremists are completely eradicated. Fears that IS fighters are making a strategic maneuver to lay low ahead of the U.S. pullout has fueled criticism that Trump telegraphed his military plans -- the same thing he accused President Barack Obama of doing in Afghanistan.

Trump sees total rout of Islamic State group as imminent

BBC News

US President Donald Trump has said territory held by the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq could be "100%" liberated as early as next week. "It should be announced, probably some time next week, that we will have 100% of the caliphate," he told a gathering of coalition partners. However, he also cautioned that he wanted to "wait for the official word". US military and intelligence officials say IS could stage a comeback without sustained counter-terrorism pressure. Mr Trump shocked coalition allies in December when he declared that the group had been defeated, amid reports he wanted to pull out US soldiers within 30 days.

Pompeo 'optimistic' about deal between Turkey and Kurdish groups

Al Jazeera

Washington's top diplomat said he was "optimistic" an agreement with Ankara could be reached which will protect Syrian Kurdish groups while allowing Ankara to "defend their country from terrorists" following a United States pullout from Syria. "We are confident we can achieve an outcome that achieves both of those," United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told journalists on Saturday in Abu Dhabi. The Gulf emirate is his latest stop in a regional tour aimed at reassuring allies after a shock December announcement by President Donald Trump that US troops would be withdrawn from Syria. Pompeo's remarks follow tensions between the US and Turkey over the fate of Washington's Syrian Kurdish allies in the fight against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) fighters. Turkey had reacted angrily to suggestions that Trump's plan to withdraw troops was conditional on the safety of the US-backed Kurdish fighters, seen by the Turkish government as terrorists.

US-led coalition says Syria withdrawal has begun

Al Jazeera

The United States-led coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) has started the process of withdrawing from Syria, its spokesperson has said. The coalition "has begun the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria. Out of concern for operational security, we will not discuss specific timelines, locations or troop movements," Colonel Sean Ryan said on Friday. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the coalition had started scaling down its presence at Rmeilan airfield in the notheastern province of Hasakeh. "On Thursday, some American forces withdrew from the Rmeilan military base in Hasakeh province," said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Britain-based monitoring organisation.