WASHINGTON: The US would continue fighting Daesh until the radical group is defeated, President Donald Trump said in his first State of the Union address.
“There is much more work to be done. We will continue our fight until ISIS (Daesh) is defeated,” Trump said.
“We continue to have all necessary power to detain terrorists — wherever we chase them down, wherever we find them,” the president said, asking for support from the Congress.
“In the past, we have foolishly released hundreds and hundreds of dangerous terrorists, only to meet them again on the battlefield — including the ISIS leader, Al-Baghdadi, who we captured, who we had, who we released,” Trump said.
There are conflicting reports about the current status of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the leader of Daesh. There were several reports that he was wounded or killed in airstrikes while some say he is alive and hiding. He was arrested by US forces in Iraq in 2004 but released after a period of internment.
In December 2017, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi officially declared full liberation of Iraq from Daesh militants after Iraqi forces recaptured all areas seized by the extremist group.
However, the Russian Defense Ministry said the US-led coalition had reduced airstrikes against Daesh targets in Iraq, allowing it to send reinforcements to Syria and complicate the advance of Syrian troops.
“Last year, I pledged that we would work with our allies to extinguish ISIS from the face of the earth,” the president said. “One year later, I’m proud to report that the coalition to defeat ISIS has liberated very close to 100 percent of the territory just recently held by these killers in Iraq and in Syria.”
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to keep open the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, marking a formal reversal of his predecessor’s eight-year effort to shut it down.
Trump made it clear during his campaign that he wanted Guantanamo to remain open and to “load it up with some bad dudes,” but he has not yet sent a new detainee to the facility.
The order says the US maintains the option to detain additional enemy combatants at the detention center in Cuba when lawful and necessary to protect US national security.
“Terrorists who do things like place bombs in civilian hospitals are evil,” Trump said. “When possible, we have no choice but to annihilate them.
When necessary, we must be able to detain and question them. But we must be clear: Terrorists are not merely criminals. They are unlawful enemy combatants.”
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