According to Defense Secretary James Mattis, the terror group ISIS may soon be coming to an end.
Following a closed briefing on Capitol Hill, Mattis said four confident words to reporters: “We’re winning. They’re losing.”
Top officials from the Trump administration were on Capitol Hill on Thursday to convey a strong message that the United States and it’s allies are making progress in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, but additional challenges still lay ahead.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis’ message about the state of play against ISIS was clear and concise.
“We’re winning. They’re losing,” the secretary told reporters as he left the classified briefing.
The Trump administration has reached an unprecedented level in fighting back ISIS:
Mattis was on the Hill for the second time this week along with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Brett McGurk, the top U.S. envoy to the global anti-ISIS coalition.
Gen. Dunford said he was optimistic about the progress being made on the ground, comparing the current state of affairs to the dire conditions in late 2013 and 2014 when ISIS began capturing large swaths of Iraq and Syria.
“If you look at where we were 24 months ago, you can look at the territory that they held, you can look at the resources that they had available, you could look at the potential for them to conduct external operations, and in all those areas we’ve made great progress,” Dunford told Sinclair Broadcast Group.
Progress is not just being made on the battlefield, but ISIS is losing financially as well:
In just the past month, Iraqi President Haider al-Abadi was able to declare victory over ISIS in Mosul. In Syria, U.S.-backed forces have effectively surrounded ISIS’ self-declared capital of Raqqa.
When ISIS what at it’s strongest, they controlled approximately 40 percent of the country’s territory, they are now limited to small portions of territory around Mosul and in the Anbar Province bordering Syria.
ISIS’s primary sources of revenue have also dried up. Defense analysts at IHS Markit estimate that the terrorist group has lost 80 percent of its funds since 2015.
Although there are still some concerns, the General has confidence President Donald Trump will do what it takes to defeat the terror group:
Asked about the biggest challenges the U.S. military is now facing, Dunford said, “Mosul.”
“[The] stabilization phase in Mosul, consolidation, making sure we get effective governance and law enforcement there which the State Department is working on.”
Additionally, there are still concentrations of ISIS fighters inside Iraq, in the Hawija area in central Iraq and the Anbar Province.
In Syria, Gen. Dunford pointed to obstacles in the Euphrates River Valley, adding there are “obviously enemies south of Raqqa.”
So far, Dunford is confident that President Trump and the Congress are providing the U.S. military with what it needs to conduct its operations against ISIS.