U.S. promises to completely destroy ISIL with help from allies
Updated 14:49, 07-Feb-2019
CGTN
01:39

The United States promised Wednesday to permanently destroy ISIL but asked concerned allies to contribute more, as President Donald Trump boasted that the extremists will soon have lost all their territory in Syria.

Trump addressed officials from more than 70 countries in Washington to discuss ways to battle against ISIL after Trump stunned many of them in December by declaring victory and ordering all 2,000 troops out of Syria.

 U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the meeting of the Ministers of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIL, at the State Department on February 6, 2019, in Washington, DC. /VCG Photo

 U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the meeting of the Ministers of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIL, at the State Department on February 6, 2019, in Washington, DC. /VCG Photo

Speaking at the State Department, Trump said that U.S.-led troops and their Kurdish allies had "liberated virtually all of the territory" from the jihadists who once controlled a vast stretch of Syria and Iraq in a self-styled caliphate.

"It should be formally announced sometime next week that we will have 100 percent of the caliphate," Trump said.

"Remnants - that's all they have, remnants - but remnants can be very dangerous," Trump said.

"Rest assured; we'll do what it takes to defeat every ounce and every last person within the ISIS (ISIL) madness and defend our people from radical Islamic terrorism," he said.

The conference comes amid behind-the-scenes efforts to manage the unintended consequences of the U.S. pullout, including keeping the peace between Turkey and Kurdish fighters and finding a solution for hundreds of foreign jihadists jailed in Syria who Washington says should be repatriated by their home countries.

'Tactical change'

Pompeo opened the conference by describing Trump's troop pullout as a "tactical change" with extremists increasingly scattered around the world.

Delegates listen as U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the Ministers of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIL‍ at the U.S. Department of State, February 6, 2019, in Washington, DC. /VCG Photo

Delegates listen as U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the Ministers of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIL‍ at the U.S. Department of State, February 6, 2019, in Washington, DC. /VCG Photo

"It is not a change in the mission," Pompeo said, adding "our fight will not necessarily always be military-led."

"We are entering an era of decentralized jihad so we must be nimble in our approach as well," he said.

Officials say that the U.S. withdrawal will happen, although at a slower pace than Trump first intended.

Eyes on Turkey

Speaking in Washington, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu pledged that Ankara would work to ensure that ISIL does not rebuild.

"Avoidance of power vacuums that could be exploited by terrorists to undermine Syria's territorial integrity and neighbors' national security will be essential," said Cavusoglu, as quoted by the state-run Anadolu news agency.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Ali al-Hakim also asked coalition partners to consider "the integrity of Syrian territory to maintain the great victory."

Foreign powers have largely come to believe that Assad will survive the grisly, multi-fronted war in which more than 360,000 people have died since he put down protests in 2011.

But the United States and its close European and Arab allies said in a joint statement that they still believed there was "no alternative to a political solution" in Syria.

Source(s): AFP