“We’ve won in Syria, we’ve won in Iraq, but they spread to other areas and we’re getting them as fast as they spread,” Trump said Tuesday at the White House during a ceremony to sign defense policy legislation.
Trump spoke a day after the arrest of a Bangladeshi immigrant after a bombing at a New York City subway station. Police said the explosion was a botched suicide mission. The suspect, who was burned in the blast, told law enforcement officials at the hospital that he “did it for the Islamic State,” according to a criminal complaint.
Others also have been claiming triumph in the Middle East’s conflicts. Russian President Vladimir Putin made a surprise stop at an airbase in Syria on Monday to declare “victory” in his country’s two-year military campaign there, part of a whirlwind tour of the region aimed at demonstrating his growing influence at U.S. expense.
Putin celebrated the preservation of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s rule, despite U.S. demands for Assad’s removal. Putin’s willingness to back the Syrian leader against rebel groups helped reverse the course of a civil war that’s killed more than 400,000 people and sent millions more fleeing since it erupted in 2011.