Game over for ISIS in Syria

Leroy Wright
March 25, 2019

Islamic State-held territory in Syria has been "100 per cent" eliminated, the White House has announced, though officials say sporadic fighting continues on the ground between coalition forces and the group's holdouts.

"ISIS is not over yet in Syria", he said, adding that militants are still hiding in the Rukban refugee camp, located within the US-controlled area.

Kurdish officers and aid groups were flummoxed by the number of people who had remained holed up in the last IS redoubt of Baghouz, a small village even few Syrians had ever heard of until this year. Amid the empty fox holes and trenches stood a building with a huge yellow SDF flag on top.

"We will continue to support the coalition's operations in Syria to ensure this enduring defeat", William Robak said.

Trump said Friday "it's about time" that the group no longer controlled territory in the region, after a campaign by US and coalition forces that spanned five years and two USA presidencies unleashed more than 100,000 bombs and killed untold numbers of civilians.

The capture of the village of Baghouz in eastern Syria by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces brings to a close a grueling battle that stretched across several weeks and saw thousands of people flee the territory and hundreds killed.

Kurdish-led forces pronounced the death of the Daesh group's almost five-year-old "caliphate" Saturday after flushing out diehard extremists from their very last bastion in eastern Syria.

2010: Abu Bakr al Baghdadi takes the reins of the Sunni extremist group.

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French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday hailed US -backed forces' successful operation to liberate the Islamic State's (IS) last pocket of resistance in eastern Syria, stressing that a "major danger for France" had been eliminated.

In September, the US-led Global Coalition is formed and announces its commitment to eradicating Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. They were exhausted, hungry, many of them wounded and traumatized by the loss of relatives, but some remained die-hard supporters of the "caliphate".

From a military perspective at least, the United States can claim significant success in its strategy of working "by, with and through" local proxy forces, where a Kurdish militia in Syria and security forces in Iraq bore the brunt of the fighting - and dying.

The Islamic State militant group (ISIS) continued to plan attacks in Europe, according to a trove of documents seen by British newspaper The Sunday Times, which describes them as like a business plan. Thousands of women from the Yazidi religious minority were enslaved, and many still are missing. Many are still missing.

France has suffered a wave of jihadist-inspired terror attacks that have killed 250 people since 2015, when gunmen massacred 12 people at the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

"A significant threat to our country" has been "eliminated", Macron said on Twitter, adding that "the step taken today is huge".

While it imposed an unforgiving version of ISIS through public beheadings and crucifixions, the group also carried out governance in its territories, including regulating prices at markets. The battle for Baghouz has dragged on for weeks and the encampment had proven a major battleground, with tents covering foxholes and underground tunnels.

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