Last ISIS Stronghold Liberated, Caliphate Destroyed, Report Says

Donald Trump

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The fall of Baghouz will mark the end of ISIS' four-year terror campaign.

The Syrian Democratic Forces recently pushed the last of ISIS terrorists outside the village of Baghuz after intense fighting between the two sides.

US President Donald Trump, speaking about the success of the SDF operation to clear out the last stronghold of Daesh* militants in Syria, claimed that there was one last "small pocket" of militants, which would be cleared "tonight".

Some officials said there were indications certain tunnels even might extend into neighboring Iraq. Black smoke could be seen rising from the village. "In fact, there's actually a tiny spot which will be gone by tonight", he added. The SDF held back on announcing victory over IS.

"We don't know how many more women and children, if any, are still in Baghuz", Wendy Taeuber, the International Rescue Committee's Iraq and northeast Syria country director, said in a statement Thursday.

Trump announced in December that he meant to remove all 2,000 troops from Syria, declaring that ISIS was mostly defeated, but he was criticized by some within his party for being too hasty.

On March 21, Kurdish forces said they were searching for ISIS fighters.

The before/after picture shows what Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorist group used to control "on election day" back in 2016 and how it lost its territory since then.

But like top SDF officials, top US defense officials have been wary of declaring victory too soon, cognizant of numerous predictions over the past several months that proved to be premature.

While an official announcement has not been made, bombs have stopped dropping, gunfire has ceased and the terror group's flags no long fly over the town of Baghouz. Officials said Kurdish special forces from Iraq also had been brought in to help with the operations.

The SDF estimated at least 5,000 fighters have surrendered and this week hundreds more gave up or were captured trying to escape.

The siege has also been slowed by the unexpectedly large number of civilians in Baghouz, a lot of them families of IS members.

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