Within hours of the Trump administration declaring that ISIS had been “100 percent” defeated in Syria, CNN aired live video showing American forces in a new firefight with ISIS in Syria.
Aboard Air Force One, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders made the premature announcement about the supposed defeat. As part of the propaganda effort, she handed reporters a map purportedly showing that the territorial holdings of ISIS in Syria had been completely eliminated.
But ISIS apparently didn’t get the memo.
Within a few hours of Sanders’ statement, CNN aired live video of reporter Ben Wedeman, who is in eastern Syria.
“The White House now says ISIS is 100 percent defeated, is that what you’re seeing?” asked anchor Brianna Keilar.
“No,” replied Wedeman, “For the last two and a half hours we’ve seen airstrikes, repeated air strikes, and these of course are American airplanes.”
The reporter then pointed out, as it was visible on camera, that flares had been fired as part of the combat operations, along with tracer fire.
“There has been gunfire coming out of the ISIS positions,” he added. “The fighting is not over.”
Trump has repeatedly insisted that ISIS is completely defeated, seeking to take credit for the fight against the terrorist group that began long before he was sworn in. Pence echoed the claim on the same day ISIS-aligned forces claimed responsibility for an attack killing four American troops.
Military officials have also contradicted Trump’s claims.
“They are dispersed and disaggregated, but there is leadership, there are fighters there, there are facilitators there,” Gen. Joseph Votel, head of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), recently testified to Congress.
CENTCOM has authority over the Middle Eastern theater, and certainly has more operational knowledge of enemy actions and American military strategy than Trump and his public relations team does.
The American intelligence community has also said Trump’s claim is false. In the January release of their annual Worldwide Threat Assessment, intelligence officials said, “ISIS still commands thousands of fighters in Iraq and Syria, and it maintains eight branches, more than a dozen networks, and thousands of dispersed supporters around the world, despite significant leadership and territorial losses.”
ISIS “is transforming into an asymmetrical warfare force. And this, of course, is a threat,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently noted.
ISIS isn’t 100 percent defeated. And Trump and his administration are foolish to claim otherwise when ISIS is still firing at American soldiers on live television.
Published with permission of The American Independent.