CNN's Jake Tapper Questions John Kerry's Assessment: Doesn't Look Like "ISIS Is On The Run"

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In an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper Sunday morning, Secretary of State John Kerry gave an assessment of how the war against ISIS is going. \

"Daesh," Kerry said, referencing an alternative name for the group, "is under great, great pressure... They are shrinking. We’ve taken back 40 percent and 45 percent of the territory they held in Iraq and we’re squeezing town after town."

"With all due respect, sir," Tapper interjected. "I’m not sure it looks that way to the public that ISIS is on the run... In the last few weeks we have seen a series of ISIS inspired attacks and 49 killed in Orlando and 45 killed in Istanbul and more than 200 killed in Baghdad and 84 in Nice."

"It depends on where you mean ISIS," Kerry responded. "If you’re saying that one person standing up one day and killing people is a reflection of ISIS moving in Iraq and Syria, I think you’re dead wrong."

Partial transcript:

KERRY: Daesh, ISIL in Syria and Iraq is under great, great pressure and people are acting out in various places, but they are not growing in their ability to do things. They are shrinking. We’ve taken back 40 percent and 45 percent of the territory they held in Iraq and we’re squeezing town after town and we’ve liberated communities and we’re making progress now and advancing on Mosul in Syria, likewise, and they’re not able to attack and hold towns.

They are on the run, and I believe what we’re seeing are the desperate actions of an entity that sees the noose closing around it.

TAPPER: With all due respect, sir, I’m not sure it looks that way to the public that ISIS is on the run. In the last few weeks we have seen a series of ISIS inspired attacks and 49 killed in Orlando and 45 killed in Istanbul and more than 200 killed in Baghdad and 84 in Nice.

This is just the last five weeks. I don’t think ISIS is on the run-- and they might be expanding.

KERRY: It depends on where you mean ISIS. I don’t know if this guy was actually ISIS nor do you. And we don’t know that the guy in Orlando was fundamentally ISIS nor even told what to do by ISIS. If people are inspired, they’re inspired, but ISIL which is based in Syria is under huge pressure and that is just a fact.

There are thousands of fighters, some of whom left the area of the fighting years ago and they are sitting in some community somewhere in the world.

If you’re saying that one person standing up one day and killing people is a reflection of ISIS moving in Iraq and Syria, I think you’re dead wrong. Now, is it capable for people to be inspired by them and go out and do great harm to people? I said that. I acknowledge that.

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