UK flatly rejects claim by Donald Trump that Isis has been defeated in Syria

Posted On: 
20th December 2018

Theresa May is facing a fresh rift with Donald Trump after the UK government flatly rejected his claim that the so-called Islamic State has been defeated in Syria.

Mr Trump tweeted yesterday: “We have defeated Isis in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.”
PA Images

Mr Trump announced yesterday that he was withdrawing all US troops from the war-torn country after apparently crushing the jihadists who have inspired terror attacks across the globe.

But a UK defence minister Tobias Ellwood said he “strongly” disagreed with the US president.

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Announcing the move on Twitter, Mr Trump said: “We have defeated Isis in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.”

But Mr Ellwood replied: "I strongly disagree. It has morphed into other forms of extremism and the threat is very much alive.”

A Foreign Office spokesperson also refused to back up the president's assessment of the situation, insisting "much remains to be done" in the war-torn country.

"Since military operations began, the Coalition and its partners in Syria and Iraq have recaptured the vast majority of Daesh territory and important advances have been made in recent days in the last area of eastern Syria which Daesh has occupied,” they said.

“But much remains to be done and we must not lose sight of the threat they pose. Even without territory, Daesh will remain a threat.”

Russia - which has supported Syrian president Bashar al-Assad during the brutal civil war in the country - said the US withdrawal could provide “genuine, real prospects for a political settlement”.

A recent US report said there were still up to 14,000 Isis fighters in Syria.