WASHINGTON: The United States promised on Wednesday to stay focused on permanently destroying the Daesh group but asked concerned allies to contribute more, as President Donald Trump boasted that the extremists will soon have lost all their territory in Syria.
Trump addressed officials from more than 70 countries who came to Washington to discuss ways ahead in the battle Daesh, also known as ISIS, after Trump stunned many of them in December by declaring victory and ordering all 2,000 troops out of Syria.
Speaking at the State Department, Trump said that US-led troops and their Kurdish allies had "liberated virtually all of the territory" from the militants who once controlled a vast stretch of Syria and Iraq in a self-styled caliphate.
"It should be formally announced some time next week that we will have 100 per cent of the caliphate," Trump said.
"Remnants -- that's all they have, remnants -- but remnants can be very dangerous," Trump said.
"Rest assured, we'll do what it takes to defeat every ounce and every last person within the ISIS madness and defend our people from radical terrorism," he said.
The conference comes amid behind-the-scenes efforts to manage the unintended consequences of the US pullout, including keeping peace between Turkey and Kurdish fighters and finding a solution for hundreds of foreign extremists jailed in Syria who Washington says should be repatriated by their home countries.
But the one-day event did not immediately produce major announcements. And US leaders were partly focused on domestic priorities, with Trump using the occasion to vow a hard line on immigration and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo taking unsubtle digs at previous president Barack Obama.
The conference did not include representatives from Syria Bashar Al Assad or Russia and Iran, which have said they are seeking to defeat the Daesh group as they shore up his iron-fisted rule.