US general: ISIS's 'repressive ideology' endures despite lost territory

The U.S. general in charge of coalition forces organized against the Islamic State said Monday that while most of the terrorist group's territory hasd been retaken, the group's hateful ideology remains a global threat.

In a video message posted to Operation Inherent Resolve's official Facebook page, Army Lieutenant General Paul Funk reported that coalition forces have retaken 65,000 square miles of land from the terrorist group. Funk also warned that there was more work to do to combat the group's ideology, particularly online.


"Their repressive ideology continues," Funk said. "The conditions remain present for Daesh to return, and only through coalition and international efforts can the defeat become permanent."

"We enter 2018 confident that increased security will enable the global coalition to further assist the Iraqi and Syrian people," Funk added.

The New Year's message from Funk and coalition leaders comes days after FBI agents raided the home of a Virginia man who the agency says wanted to join the Islamic State.

Sean Andrew Duncan, a U.S. citizen from Pittsburgh, was arrested Friday on charges of attempting to obstruct a terrorism investigation, and that he had tried to dispose of evidence when law enforcement showed up at his townhouse.

NBC Washington reported Tuesday that Duncan had been in contact with a detained ISIS supporter who told investigators that Duncan spoke about wanting to join ISIS and conduct an attack inside the United States.

Duncan had been on the FBI's radar since at least 2016, when agents interviewed him upon his return from Turkey in February.