US-backed forces in Syria Saturday announced they have liberated the last area held by the Islamic State in the eastern Syrian village of Baghouz, declaring victory over the extremist group and the end of its self-declared Islamic caliphate.
Mustafa Bali, a spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, SDF tweeted “Baghouz is free and the military victory against Daesh has been achieved,” referring to the group by its Arabic acronym.
The US Defense Department said on Friday that ISIS no longer held any territory in Syria. White House spokeswoman Sarah Elizabeth Sanders has said that the “territorial caliphate has been eliminated in Syria”. Responding to a question regarding whether the armed group’s territory had been “100 per cent” eliminated, Sanders said “Yes.”
The SDF has been battling for weeks to defeat ISIS in Baghouz in southeastern Syria at the Iraqi border. It was all that remained of the territory the armed group ruled.
The campaign to take back the territory by the US and its partners has spanned five years and two U.S. presidencies unleashed more than 100,000 bombs and killed untold numbers of fighters and civilians.
IS no longer controls any territory in Syria or Iraq, but continues to carry out insurgent attacks in both countries. It also maintains affiliates in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, Afghanistan and elsewhere.