UN contradicts Trump's claims of ISIL's defeat
Updated 17:10, 07-Feb-2019
By Yang Zhao
01:26

In his State of the Union address, U.S. President Donald Trump declared that ISIL had been wiped out, supporting his decision to pull more than two-thousand U.S. troops out of Syria. 

But his remarks were immediately contradicted by a report from the United Nations (UN).

UN sanctions monitors said on the same day of Trump's state of the Union that the ISIL group has not been defeated in Syria. 

It continues to pose by far the most significant threat of any terror group. 

This report presented to the Security Council said there are between 14,000 and 18,000 ISIL militants in Syria and in Iraq, including up to 3,000 foreign fighters. 

"ISIL has not yet been defeated in Syria, but it remains under intense military pressure in its stronghold in the east of the country," it said.  

They are now surrounded by Syrian government forces in the west and Kurds in the east.

The sanction monitors still ranked the Islamic jihadists as the most dangerous on the UN's blacklist of terror groups. 

ISIL has been associated with more terrorist activities than any other group in 2018, even if the number of external attacks dropped last year compared to 2017, the report added.

What makes the situation more complicated is that ISIL has morphed into a covert network with the loss of its caliphate in Iraq and Syria. 

The UN's latest finding is that ISIL leadership has been reduced to a dispersed group and "is directing some fighters to return to Iraq to join the network there". 

For now ISIL may not able to direct an international attack, but the UN warns this extremist group remains a global organization.