ISIS Has Lost Nearly All of Its Territory—Mostly Under Trump

Posted: Dec 27, 2017 8:05 AM

The Islamic State has lost 98 percent of the territory it once controlled, thanks in large part to President Trump's changed strategy in dealing with the terror group.

Half of the territory of ISIS’s ‘caliphate’ was recaptured under Trump because “onerous” rules in place under the Obama  administration were lifted. 

“The rules of engagement under the Obama administration were onerous. I mean what are we doing having individual target determination being conducted in the White House, which in some cases adds weeks and weeks,” said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. David Deptula, the former head of U.S. Air Force intelligence, reports “The limitations that were put on actually resulted in greater civilian casualties.”

He also said the gains against ISIS could’ve been accomplished sooner had Obama not “micromanaged” the war.

“We could have accomplished our objectives through the use of overwhelming air power in three months not in three years,” he said, according to

The latest American intelligence assessment says fewer than 1,000 ISIS fighters now remain in Iraq and Syria, down from a peak of nearly 45,000 just two years ago. U.S. officials credit nearly 30,000 U.S.-led coalition airstrikes and regional partners on the ground for killing more than 70,000 jihadists. Meanwhile, only a few thousand have returned home.

The remaining ISIS strongholds are concentrated in a small area along the border of Syria and Iraq. ISIS, at one point, controlled an area the size of Ohio. (

While the terror group’s losses are certainly worth celebrating, its radical ideology remains. ISIS continues trying to recruit sympathizers around the world to carry out attacks. 

“ISIS became a brand, and a lot of pre-existing terrorist groups — you’ve seen this in the Sinai, for example — start to raise the flag of ISIS, mainly to recruit foreign fighters and other things,” Brett McGurk, Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS at the U.S. Department of State, told reporters last week at the State Department.