In 2014, although no one knew it at the time, ISIS had reached its high point. In June of that year, said Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS Brett McGurk, “Mosul, a city of nearly 2 million people, fell to ISIS; and its leader Abu Bakr Baghdadi, declared a caliphate from the grand Mosque of Al Nuri in Mosul’s old city.”
Supremely confident after a series of victories, and with foreign fighters streaming in from all over the world to join the group, ISIS began to march towards Baghdad.
By the end of 2014, ISIS controlled territory the size of Lebanon spanning across Iraq and Syria, said Special Envoy McGurk, “with millions of people, entire cities, dual capitals in Raqqa and Mosul, generating revenue through oil and gas, taxes, antiquities trade, hostage taking, of more than a billion dollars per year.”
Led by the United States, nations formed a global coalition to counter-ISIS in a military offensive that began with a series of airstrikes in September 2014. The Coalition has destroyed ISIS in its safe havens, denied its ability to recruit, move foreign fighters, move funds, and spread false propaganda over the internet and social media.
Today, supported by the Coalition, local forces have reclaimed about 70 percent of populated territory that ISIS once held in Iraq, allowing for more than 1.9 million people to return to areas liberated from ISIS. It has rolled back ISIS from 51 percent of the territory it previously controlled in Syria. As we pressure ISIS we are proving their so called “caliphate” is nothing more than a fraud.
“Our coalition is on a fixed course,” said Special Envoy McGurk, “with a sound and proven strategy, committed to the total destruction of ISIS, the destruction of the physical caliphate, while in parallel preparing for the day after.”