The top enlisted leader in the US military has issued a stark and graphic warning to all remaining ISIS fighters: Surrender or face a violent death at the hands of coalition forces, who will carry out the task using anything from bombs to entrenchment shovels.
Army Command Sgt. Maj. John Troxell, the senior enlisted adviser to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, posted the threat Tuesday on Facebook and made similar comments during a recent holiday tour with the USO.
“ISIS needs to understand that the Joint Force is on orders to annihilate them. So, they have two options should they decide to come up against the United States, our allies and partners: surrender or die!” the post said.
“If they choose not to surrender, then we will kill them with extreme prejudice, whether that be through security force assistance, by dropping bombs on them, shooting them in the face, or beating them to death with our entrenching tools,” he added.
The post also featured the hashtag #ISIS_SurrenderOrDie.
“Command Sgt. Maj. Troxell’s comment emphasized the sincerity of the coalition’s resolve in defeating ISIS, or Daesh, who over the past four years have committed countless atrocities against men, women and children around the world,” Master Sgt. Robert Couture, a spokesman for Troxell, told CNN.
“His intent is to communicate the tenacity of the warrior ethos, that even when faced with the brutal and unforgiving nature of combat, will use every resource available to fight and win,” Couture added.
ISIS has lost the majority of the territory it once controlled in Syria and has been largely eliminated from all of its havens in Iraq.
In a December CNN poll, more than 6 in 10 Americans said the US military action against ISIS is going well, the most positive assessment of the campaign since the US began airstrikes against the terrorist group in Syria in fall of 2014, and a sharp improvement since spring of last year, when 45% said things were going well.
The poll was conducted shortly after Iraq’s prime minister declared victory over ISIS in that country but as tensions flared between the US and Russia over the conflict with ISIS in Syria.
The Pentagon said last month that the US military mission in Syria would continue until areas reclaimed from ISIS are stabilized, adding that US troops would withdraw only when “conditions” on the ground allowed.
Military officials have long said that despite several high-profile ISIS defeats, military operations against the terror group would continue for some time.