Islamic State militants were cleared from the Syrian village Abu Naytl, according to the U.S.-led coalition countering ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The clearing operation marked one of the largest since March when President Donald Trump and the Syrian Democratic Forces announced that ISIS lost its so-called caliphate and territory in Syria.
Forces assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve aided approximately 1,000 Syrian Democratic Force soldiers in clearing out ISIS from the Syrian town on June 18. The operation was launched after the ISIS fighters intimidated community leaders and infiltrated the village.
"Operations like this show just how much progress has been made in destroying Daesh," Maj. Gen. Christopher Ghika, deputy commander for stability for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, said in a statement Friday.
"But that doesn't mean the fight is won,” Ghika said. “Daesh doesn't need territory to remain a global and regional threat as it attempts to resurge. Our resolve remains firm, and we will continue to assist our partners in consolidating their gains and pursuing the remnants of Daesh."
Trump announced in December that ISIS had been defeated in Syria, and his administration announced on March 23 that ISIS no longer had control over the territory it deemed its “caliphate.”
Altogether. Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve and partner forces liberated more than 42,000 square miles from ISIS since 2014.
Still, Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve and Syrian Democratic Forces have administered more than 50 operations against ISIS sleeper cells in Syria since March 23. The operations have led to the detention of 140 known terrorists.
Army Lt. Gen. Paul LaCamera, Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve commanding general, cautioned in March that ISIS would attempt to reemerge in the future, noting that the fight against ISIS had not concluded.
“Make no mistake, Daesh is preserving their force” LaCamera said in a statement in March. “They have made calculated decisions to preserve what is left of their dwindling personnel and capabilities by taking their chances in camps for internally displaced persons and going to ground in remote areas. They are waiting for the right time to reemerge.”