(SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER U.S. GENERAL JOHN ALLEN SAYING: "They haven't given up one iota of their narratives or objectives." While U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces on the ground said Islamic State's self-proclaimed 'caliphate' had been eliminated over the weekend, former U.S. General John Allen cautioned against declaring total defeat.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER U.S. GENERAL JOHN ALLEN SAYING: "There are still thousands of these folks that are unaccounted for, and I think what we will see, in both Iraq and Syria, in the months to come, will be extensive mop up operations... SDF's General Commander Mazloum Abdi proclaimed the capture of Islamic State's last enclave in eastern Syria on Saturday, but said the jihadists remain a threat from sleeper cells around the world.
President Donald Trump softened his rhetoric in a statement Saturday and said the region had been quote "liberated," but added the United States will remain vigilant.
Trump told reporters on Friday that Islamic State militants no longer hold any territory in Syria.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP SAYING: "ISIS on Election Day, here's ISIS, you look, there's ISIS, and that's what we have right now, as of last night.
You guys can have the map, congratulations." Trump has said Islamic State no longer holds Syrian territory more than once over the past few weeks... (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP SAYING: "Now it's 100% we just took over." (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP SAYING: "There's a tiny spot, which will be gone by tonight." (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP SAYING: "Now on the bottom that's as of today, this is ISIS there's none.
The caliphate is gone.
As of tonight.
Pretty good." But Allen said one of the principle dimensions key to fighting the spread of Islamic State -- the Internet -- still remains.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER U.S. GENERAL JOHN ALLEN SAYING: "This is still a virulent and dangerous group." US-backed coalition forces have been battling Islamic State in Syria since September 2014 - when air strikes began.