Under Trump, gains against ISIS have dramatically accelerated

Nearly a third of territory reclaimed from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria since 2014 has been won in the past six months, due to new policies adopted by the Trump administration, a senior State Department official said Friday. Brett McGurk, the State Department’s senior envoy to the anti-Islamic State coalition, a job he also held in the Obama administration, said that steps President Trump has taken, including delegating decision-making authority down from the White House to commanders in the field, have “dramatically accelerated” gains against the militants. Although the Trump administration has refused to announce its new strategy for the campaign against the Islamic State, McGurk cited “key changes” under Trump. In addition to the delegation of decision-making authority, which he said has allowed much greater responsiveness to opportunities and changing circumstances, he cited a “campaign of annihilation” that has concentrated on surrounding cities held by the militants before launching offensives, to ensure that no militants will escape. He said the 2,000 militants remaining in Raqqa “most likely will die in Raqqa.”