- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday that the Islamic State “has been defeated,” hours after U.S. soldiers were killed in Syria in attack for which the terror organization claimed responsibility.

“The caliphate has crumbled and [the Islamic State] has been defeated,” Mr. Pence said in an address to the Global Chiefs of Mission conference at the State Department.

The U.S.-led coalition earlier confirmed that U.S. troops had been killed in an explosion in Manbij, Syria. The extremist group, also known as ISIS, said it is responsible.

In a statement later Wednesday, Mr. Pence said he and President Trump “condemn the terrorist attack in Syria that claimed American lives and our hearts are with the loved ones of the fallen. We honor their memory and we will never forget their service and sacrifice.”

Mr. Pence said that, thanks to the courage of U.S. forces, “we have crushed the ISIS caliphate and devastated its capabilities.”

“As we begin to bring our troops home, the American people can be assured, for the sake of our soldiers, their families, and our nation, we will never allow the remnants of ISIS to reestablish their evil and murderous caliphate – not now, not ever,” he said.

“Our hearts go out to the loved ones of the fallen,” she said on Twitter.

In his speech, Mr. Pence defended the president’s decision to withdraw troops from Syria, where about 2,000 soldiers have been deployed.

“Thanks to the leadership of this commander in chief and the courage and sacrifice of our armed forces, we’re now actually able to begin to hand off the fight against ISIS in Syria to our coalition partners and we’re bringing our troops home,” Mr. Pence said.

He added that the U.S. would “stay in the region and we’ll stay in the fight to ensure that ISIS does not rear its ugly head again.”

“We will protect the gains that our soldiers and our coalition partners have secured,” Mr. Pence said.

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