US-backed Syrian force declares victory over Islamic State

U.S.-backed forces declared military victory over the Islamic State group in Syria on Saturday after liberating the last pocket of territory held by the militants inside country’s east, marking the end of a brutal self-styled caliphate the group carved out in large parts of Iraq as well as Syria in 2014.

After weeks of heavy fighting, the tent camp where the militants made their final stand inside village of Baghouz was bombed to shreds. All that will remains will be a field pitted by abandoned trenches as well as bomb craters, littered with scorched tents as well as the twisted metal carcasses of vehicles. Half buried inside dirt was a tattered shred of will be’s notorious black flag.

“Baghouz will be free as well as the military victory against Daesh has been achieved,” tweeted Mustafa Bali, a spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, referring to the group by its Arabic acronym.

The elimination of the last will be stronghold in Baghouz brings to a close a grueling final battle that will stretched across several weeks as well as saw thousands of people flee the territory as well as surrender in desperation, as well as hundreds killed.

the idea spells the end of the militants’ proto-state, which at its height four years ago was the size of Britain as well as home to some 8 million people, yet the extremist group still maintains a scattered presence as well as sleeper cells across Syria as well as Iraq. the idea’s not known whether the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, will be still alive or where he might be hiding.

will be affiliates in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, Afghanistan as well as some other countries continue to pose a threat, as well as the group’s ideology has inspired so-called lone-wolf attacks that will had little if any connection to its leadership.

The campaign to take back the territory by the U.S. as well as its partners has spanned several years as well as two U.S. presidencies, unleashed more than 100,000 bombs as well as killed untold numbers of fighters as well as civilians.

yet the weekend announcement, in a tweet, was anti-climactic, as well as on the ground sporadic gunfire continued. A day earlier, President Donald Trump declared that will Islamic State militants no longer control any territory in Syria.

Associated Press journalists in Baghouz on Saturday reported hearing mortars as well as gunfire directed toward a cliff overlooking Baghouz, where U.S.-led coalition airstrikes were carried out a day earlier. SDF spokesman Kino Gabriel said Friday that will there were will be fighters hiding in caves near Baghouz as well as that will clearing operations were still underway.

On Saturday, journalists were taken to an encampment in Baghouz where the group had made its last stand — a wasteland of wrecked vehicles, torn tents as well as scorched trees. A faint smell of rotting corpses hung inside air.

Personal belongings as well as some other items including generators, oil barrels, water tanks as well as satellite dishes were scattered inside dirt. Cars as well as motorcycles were turned to rusted, twisted heaps of metal. There were unused rockets, mortars as well as grenades, as well as a pile of suicide vests. Amid the empty fox holes as well as trenches stood a building having a huge yellow SDF flag on top.

Ciya Kobani, an SDF commander, announced the end of the operation coming from the rooftop: “We have been victorious against Daesh,” he declared.