Under the administration of President Trump and the leadership of Secretary of Defense James Mattis, ISIS numbers are historically low, according to The Daily Caller.
The terror group has additional lost an unprecedented amount of territory since the president’s inauguration almost one year ago.
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“During 2017 over 60,000 square kilometers were liberated from ISIS across Iraq and Syria,” British Army Maj. Gen. Felix Gedney told the Pentagon press corps Wednesday, explaining that “more than 98 percent of the land once claimed by the terrorist group has been returned to the people.” This estimate means ISIS lost nearly 60 percent of the territory it once controlled in 2017.
Gedney added that 4.5 million Iraqis and Syrians were liberated from ISIS by the U.S.-backed coalition in 2017 out of the 7.7 million total since the military campaign began in 2017. Gedney’s estimate indicates approximately 60 percent of total freed civilians were liberated in 2017.
The military has seen such stunning success that some experts estimate no more than 1,000 ISIS fighters remain on the ground in Iraq and Syria, an absolutely shocking number given the 2014 estimate that up to 31,000 fighters were on the ground.
And even those remaining fighters are notably vulnerable, as they’re primarily isolated and settled in pockets throughout the two countries.
Additionally, 130 “ISIS leaders or high value targets” have also been eliminated since efforts to annihilate the group began under the Trump administration.
The collapse of the physical caliphate however does not mean U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria are going anywhere anytime soon. U.S. military officials expect ISIS to morph back into its insurgent roots and mount terror attacks across both countries.
Note: The author of this article has included commentary that expresses an opinion and analysis of the facts.
Western security officials also fear the threat of returning ISIS foreign fighters and the continued ability of the terror group to inspire attacks. New York City saw two ISIS-inspired attacks since November despite the major losses for the group.