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The Pentagon won’t say if the fight against ISIS in Syria is over (It isn’t)
The Pentagon's chief spokesman is refusing to say whether the last ISIS stronghold in Syria has fallen a day after President Donald Trump announced the caliphate's demise for the fourth time in as many months.
"Wherever ISIS exists, we will continue to pursue them with our partners and allies in the region," Charles Summers told reporters on Thursday at a Pentagon media event.
When asked if the fight to clear ISIS from Syria's Middle Euphrates River Valley has ended, Summers replied, "We continue to fight against ISIS wherever they may be."
Fellow Pentagon spokesman Tom Crosson clarified afterward that the U.S. military is not preparing to attack ISIS in parts of Syria controlled by Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad or Russian, Iranian, and Hezbollah forces.
"While the Department of Defense has struck targets of opportunity west of the Euphrates in the past, our strategy has not changed,"Crosson said. "We are maintaining our focus in the east and south to eradicate ISIS in the collective self-defense of Iraq and U.S. national self-defense."
U.S. officials confirmed to Task & Purpose that Syrian Democratic Forces are still clearing ISIS from its last strongholds in Baghouz, Syria.
SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali tweeted on Thursday that the U.S.-backed group had not yet announced that all of ISIS' former territory had been liberated.
Bali reporters on Thursday that the SDF was mopping up the last remnants of resistance in Baghouz, according to Reuters. The U.S. allies intend to declare victory after thy finish checking for ISIS fighters hidden in tunnels and caves as well as clearing mines and booby traps.
Speaking at an Army tank plant in Lima, Ohio, Trump predicted on Wednesday that ISIS' former caliphate would be gone "as of tonight."
Trump has made such announcements before: On Dec. 19, 2018, Trump announced, "We have defeated ISIS in Syria" and vowed to withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria.
Then, on Feb. 15, the president predicted that the eradication of ISIS' former caliphate, "Will be announced over the next 24 hours."
On Feb. 28, Trump told service members in Alaska that ISIS had lost "100 percent" of its former territory.
In his latest pronouncement of ISIS's defeat, Trump showed his audience two maps showing how much the former caliphate has shrunk. ISIS territory was marked in red.
"Now you look at it and there's no red," Trump said. "No red."
The classification markings on the maps were blacked out. When asked on Thursday if the maps the president showed were classified, Summers said, "I don't have anything for you on that."
UPDATE: This story was updated on March 21 after Pentagon spokesman Tom Crosson clarified that the U.S. military is not preparing to attack ISIS in parts of Syria controlled by the regime and its allies.
WATCH NEXT: President Trump Discusses Syria
Exclusive: Video shows Navy SEAL flying drone over body of ISIS fighter shortly after Eddie Gallagher allegedly stabbed him
Shortly after Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher allegedly murdered a wounded ISIS prisoner, about half a dozen of his SEAL teammates watched as one SEAL flew a drone around their compound and hovered it just inches over the dead man's body.
It was yet another ethical lapse for the men of SEAL Team 7 Alpha Platoon, many of whom had just taken a group photograph with the deceased victim after their commander had held an impromptu reenlistment ceremony for Gallagher near the body. Although some expressed remorse in courtroom testimony over their participation in the photo, video footage from later that morning showed a number of SEALs acted with little regard for the remains of Gallagher's alleged victim.
The video — which was shown to the jury and courtroom spectators last week in the trial of Gallagher — was recently obtained by Task & Purpose.
'It just happened' — the Iraq War’s first living Medal of Honor recipient recalls his harrowing fight against 5 insurgents
On Nov, 10, 2004, Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia knew that he stood a good chance of dying as he tried to save his squad.
Bellavia survived the intense enemy fire and went on to single-handedly kill five insurgents as he cleared a three-story house in Fallujah during the iconic battle for the city. For his bravery that day, President Trump will present Bellavia with the Medal of Honor on Tuesday, making him the first living Iraq war veteran to receive the award.
In an interview with Task & Purpose, Bellavia recalled that the house where he fought insurgents was dark and filled with putrid water that flowed from broken pipes. The battle itself was an assault on his senses: The stench from the water, the darkness inside the home, and the sounds of footsteps that seemed to envelope him.
In his sanctions announcement, Trump accidentally named the wrong supreme leader of Iran, who has been dead since 1989
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico has deployed almost 15,000 soldiers and National Guard in the north of the country to stem the flow of illegal immigration across the border into the United States, the head of the Mexican Army said on Monday.
Mexico has not traditionally used security forces to stop undocumented foreign citizens leaving the country for the United States, and photographs of militarized police catching Central American and Cuban women at the border in recent days have met with criticism.
Mexico is trying to curb a surge of migrants from third countries crossing its territory in order to reach the United States, under the threat of tariffs on its exports by U.S. President Donald Trump, who has made tightening border security a priority.
Packages containing suspected heroin were found in the home of the driver charged with killing seven motorcyclists Friday in the North Country, authorities said Monday.
Massachusetts State Police said the packages were discovered when its Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section and New Hampshire State police arrested Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, at his West Springfield home. The packages will be tested for heroin, they said.
Zhukovskyy faces seven counts of negligent homicide in connection with the North Country crash on Friday evening that killed seven riders associated with Jarhead Motorcycle Club, a club for Marines and select Navy corpsmen.