The last ISIS stronghold in Syria has been liberated, Fox News reported on Friday. The caliphate is over after five years of bloody civilian war. that destroyed Syria’s economy and normal life of its people.
The final offensive is over after the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) captured an encampment where the ISIS fighters had been mounting a last defence of the tiny enclave on Tuesday. According to the US media, the operation to take Islamic State’s last enclave looked close to an end on Wednesday with US-backed fighters combing the area for hidden jihadists.
Civilians evacuated from ISIS’ embattled holdout of Baghouz, eastern Syria, wait for bread and water in an area held by the SDF whose soldiers are bringing down the black flags of ISIS. The self-proclaimed Islamic State is over after five years of the civil war. In 2019 only, at least 60,000 ISIS fighters have dripped into the desert, and most are now held in camps.
President Donald Trump on Wednesday showed reporters a pair of contrasting maps of Syria, one showing Islamic State-controlled areas when he was elected in late 2016 and what it looks like today.
“When I took over, it was a mess,” Trump said, indicating red areas on the map controlled by ISIS. “Now, at bottom … there is no red. In fact, there’s actually a tiny spot which will be gone by tonight. So that’s ISIS red right there, and the bottom one is how it is today,” he said.
ISIS’s defeat at Baghouz ends its territorial control over the third of Syria and Iraq it held in 2014 as it sought to carve out a huge caliphate in the region. While it represents a significant milestone in Syria’s eight-year-old war and in the battle against ISIS, the radical cells are still posing a threat.
Women and children leaving Baghouz have spoken to Reuters and other international media of harsh conditions under siege in the encampment, surviving heavy aerial bombardment and with food supplies so scarce that some resorted to eating grass.