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Trump says end of IS caliphate ‘in sight’ after Raqa’s fall

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(FILES) This file photo taken on October 20, 2017 shows fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) walking down a street in Raqa past destroyed vehicles and heavily damaged buildings after a Kurdish-led force expelled Islamic State (IS) group fighters from the northern Syrian city, formerly their “capital”. US President Donald Trump on October 21, 2017 said the end of the Islamic State group’s “caliphate is in sight” following the fall of its former bastion Raqa, and a transition can soon begin to set conditions for lasting peace in Syria. The United States and its allies will support diplomatic negotiations “that end the violence, allow refugees to return safely home, and yield a political transition that honors the will of the Syrian people,” he said in a statement. BULENT KILIC / AFP

US President Donald Trump on Saturday said the end of the Islamic State group’s “caliphate is in sight” following the fall of its former bastion Raqa, and a transition can soon begin to set conditions for lasting peace in Syria.

The United States and its allies will support diplomatic negotiations “that end the violence, allow refugees to return safely home, and yield a political transition that honors the will of the Syrian people,” he said in a statement.

The declaration came four days after US-backed Kurdish-led forces recaptured Raqa, the capital of IS’s self-proclaimed caliphate and its last major stronghold in Syria.

Trump said the entire city has been liberated from IS control, which he said represented a “critical breakthrough” in the global struggle against the militant group.

“With the liberation of ISIS’s capital and the vast majority of its territory, the end of the ISIS caliphate is in sight,” Trump said, using an alternate acronym for IS.

“We will soon transition into a new phase in which we will support local security forces, de-escalate violence across Syria, and advance the conditions for lasting peace, so that the terrorists cannot return to threaten our collective security again,” he said.


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