Trump applauds defeat of ISIS in Raqqa, promises to promote 'lasting peace' in Syria and 'justice' for terrorists

Key Points
  • President Donald Trump announced Saturday that ISIS has been largely defeated in the Syrian city of Raqqa.
  • He called it a "critical breakthrough" that will help end ISIS.
Donald Trump
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

President Donald Trump on Saturday lauded Syria's defeat of Islamic State forces in the city of Raqqa, saying the U.S.-backed Syrian resistance had ushered in "a critical breakthrough in our worldwide campaign to defeat ISIS and its wicked ideology."

A prolonged conflict between ISIS and the Syrian Democratic Forces culminated this week in the SDF recapturing Raqqa, a sprawling area under Islamic State control. In Syria, the fight against ISIS has taken place amid a wider, multipronged civil war between the government of President Bashar al-Assad and an array of rebel groups.

In a statement, Trump declared that the U.S. would "soon transition into a new phase in which we will support local security forces, de-escalate violence across Syria, and advance conditions for lasting peace," in order to ward off further threats of terror, he said.

"With the liberation of ISIS's capital and the vast majority of its territory, the end of the ISIS caliphate is in sight," Trump added.

For at least three years, ISIS has held sway over a vast expanse of area that bestrode both Iraq and Syria. It has recently faced crippling defeats in both countries. At the height of its occupation, ISIS was said to have controlled a third of Iraq.

"Today, we reaffirm that ISIS leaders, and anyone who supports them, must and will face justice," the president added.

--Reuters contributed to this article.