President Trump said in his State of the Union address that the coalition to defeat ISIS has recaptured nearly all of the Islamic State’s territory.
Although 97 percent of ISIS’s former caliphate has fallen to American and allied forces, news analyst Charlie Sennott said on Boston Public Radio today that victory against ISIS isn’t quite that simple.
“What we’re hearing from American intelligence reports and reports from other allies on the ground [is that] thousands upon thousands of ISIS fighters have fled, are regrouping and are going to metastasize into something new,” said Sennott.
American and allied forces reclaimed Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq in 2017.
“You can win in territorial battles,” Sennott said. “Yes, they liberated those cities. Yes, that’s a great thing. But you've pushed the movement underground and it’s starting to reveal itself in new ways.”
He said the bombings in Baghdad two weeks ago are evidence of the more divided but still active ISIS organization, and said we’re going to see “more and more” of the lone-wolf style fighting.
“[There are] some reports that they’re shifting over to Yemen and elsewhere,” Sennott said. “It’s really concerning, and we’ve got to keep our eye on it — the game’s not over.”
Charlie Sennott is a news analyst at WGBH, where he also heads up the GroundTruth Project. To hear his interview in its entirety, click on the audio player above.