US Envoy Says ISIS Fight in Syria Will Continue Even Without ISIS Holding Territory

Says goal of war is 'enduring defeat' of ISIS

US special envoy for Syria Jim Jeffrey said that the takeover of the last ISIS-held town was an “important development,” but that the war would continue beyond this indefinitely, with an eye toward an eventual “enduring defeat.”

Jeffrey’s comments centered on the idea that post-territory ISIS would be a “different kind of fight,” and downplayed the idea of any question what to do with the thousands of ISIS prisoners already held.

Effectively, the message was that the war is going to continue, and US forces will remain in Syria in some undisclosed number. It was meant to deflect Trump’s previous withdrawal announcement and victory declaration.

It has always been expected that ISIS would return to an insurgency operation after losing the last of its territory, but it wasn’t clear that the US would be involved. The Pentagon had always envisioned being in Syria effectively forever, but that decision has been hotly debated within the cabinet.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of