The U.S. general commanding forces against the Islamic State said it has lost 98 percent of the land it claimed and 7.7 million people have been liberated from its control, but warned the group could continue as a shadow terror outfit operating without a base.
Army Lieutenant General Paul Funk, commanding general of Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, said a coalition that has grown to 74 nations reclaimed 65,000 square kilometers (25,096 square miles) of land from the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or Daesh, in 2017. Yet he warned the allies can’t let up.
“Their repressive ideology continues,” Funk said in a New Years message posted to the coalition Facebook page. “The conditions remain present for Daesh to return, and only through coalition and international efforts can the defeat become permanent.”