Wednesday, 17 July, 2019

British Forces Will Remain In Syria After Capture Of Last Isis Territory

Islamic State no longer holds any territory in Syria, confirms US ISIS 100 percent eliminated in Syria, White House claims
Patty Aguilar | 24 March, 2019, 07:44

The yellow flag of the Syrian Democratic Forces flutters on a hilltop above the Islamic State group's last redoubt of Baghouz as the US-backed fighters proclaim the total elimination of its "caliphate".

USA -backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters pose for a photo on a rooftop overlooking Baghouz, Syria, after the SDF declared the area free of ISIS terrorists after months of fighting on March 23, 2019.

The territorial caliphate of the ISIS terror group has been 100 percent eliminated, the White House said on March 22.

Officials said that the SDF has not announced any declaration of victory, and there was no announcement planned for Friday.

In the chaos following the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, an al Qaeda offshoot sets up there, changing its name in 2006 to Islamic State in Iraq.

Now the last territory held by Daesh in Syria has been liberated.

Near it was one of at least 10 discarded explosives belts spotted by AFP reporters in the last strip of land conquered by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.

Music rings out from one of the SDF cars, and the applause of male and female fighters echoes across the hills surrounding the fallen jihadist encampment.

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ISIS's territorial defeat comes after a six-month operation which resulted in the death of more than 630 civilians, according to a monitoring group.

Though the defeat of Islamic State at Baghouz ends its grip over populated territory, the group remains a threat, with fighters operating in remote territory elsewhere and capable of mounting insurgent attacks. In January, the Iraqi city of Fallujah falls into the hands of its fighters, followed by the Syrian city of Raqqa.

The rebellion in neighboring Syria that saw state authority collapse across vast areas also played a part, giving the Iraqi-based militants space in which to regroup, organise and prepare for their sweep through both countries. "Sure, in Syria, they are down to nothing, but in the deserts of Anbar, they live on".

SDF spokesman Kino Gabriel told the Associated Press on Friday that there were still IS fighters and women and children hiding in caves near Baghouz.

The Islamic State emerged in the wake of President Barack Obama's decision to withdraw all US forces from Iraq in 2011, after Iraqi leaders refused to guarantee standard immunity for American soldiers deployed there. They massacred those who resisted their rule and beheaded hostages including western journalists and foreign aid workers in gruesome videos circulated online.

But the Islamic State was soon claiming credit for some of the most horrific terrorist attacks around the world, from Paris to Egypt to the USA, where an ISIS-inspired gunman killed 49 people and wounded another 53 in an Orlando, Florida, nightclub in June 2016.

He told Express.co.uk: "For Trump to say ISIS has been defeated and that the U.S. can now leave is ridiculous". Women and girls are kidnapped as sex slaves; hundreds remain missing to this day.

2015: The bloodthirsty extremist group begins the process of claiming responsibility for a number of atrocities and attacks that are carried out around the world over the coming months and years. In the final weeks, they streamed out of Baghouz, bedraggled, angry and hungry, overwhelming Kurdish-run camps in northern Syria where they are being held.

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