BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:45 P.M.) – U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted two maps on Wednesday that showed the territory the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/IS/Daesh) held in both 2017 and 2019.
ISIS Caliphate two years ago in red vs. ISIS Caliphate TODAY. (Was even worse in November 2016 before I took office). pic.twitter.com/MUgfex4rCj
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 20, 2019
As shown in the two maps above, the Islamic State has been nearly wiped off the map in both Syria and Iraq; however, there are some errors that are evident.
For one, the Islamic State’s largest “residual presence” is barely highlighted on these maps.
The Islamic State has a major presence inside the Badiya Al-Sham region, which is a desert area located between the Deir Ezzor and Homs governorates of Syria.
The terrorist group’s pocket in the Badiya Al-Sham region is also besieged by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and their allies.
Due to the large presence of caves and overall rough terrain, the Islamic State has been able to evade capture and carry out sporadic attacks along the highway between Palmyra (var. Tadmur) and Deir Ezzor.
Furthermore, these attacks have most often taken place in the mountains near the desert towns of Palmyra and Al-Sukhnah, which are not even highlighted on the map.
It is still not clear why this is not highlighted on the second map, but the fact of the matter is, the Islamic State still presents a great threat to the area.
In addition to the Badiya Al-Sham region, the Islamic State also maintains a presence near the Al-Safa Volcano in northeast Al-Sweida.
Again, this is another area that is surrounded by the Syrian Arab Army and has no U.S. presence nearby.
Two weeks ago, a captured Islamic State member told the Syrian Army that some 200 terrorist combatants are still present around the Al-Safa Volcano; this came after they launched an attack on a village in Al-Sweida.
The Syrian Army and their allies have launched a new operation to clear these pockets; however, it is likely going to take a while to do so, as the Islamic State is deeply embedded in this region.