The last stronghold of the ISIS caliphate, the last part of their “state,” has now officially crumbled and been defeated.
Baghouz, Syria, the last village they held has now been liberated.
From Fox News:
It’s the first time since we’ve been here in Syria for five days that the bombs have stopped dropping and the gunfire has disappeared. We have witnessed the end of the caliphate – the brutal empire that once ruled over 8 million people – is gone.
Troops here are now bringing down the black flags of ISIS. The flags no longer fly over the town, instilling fear.
The last five days, Fox News has witnessed the last major offensive up close -– with U.S.-backed SDF forces attacking ISIS from three sides, pushing the fighters back, house to house, then tent to tent, against the Euphrates River.
It’s where they first seized power and now it’s the last piece they just lost.
The majority have surrendered and are now being held in camps. What to do with them is the next big question. The SDF is considering war crimes tribunals for prosecution.
The major leaders of ISIS were not caught with their men, they fled prior to the fall.
Now, they may still try to foment terrorism, but they no longer officially have a state.
An official announcement of the liberation is expected.
For four-and-a-half years, ISIS held this territory, ruling over it with an iron fist. It was the terrorist group’s heartland – and they were so dug in that the only way to push them back was to flatten whole villages. The devastation here goes on for miles – and craters like this are a reminder of the critical role played by U.S. airpower. Military jets still fly overhead.
SDF fighters are all so grateful to the U.S., not just for their help in the battle, but now for its decision to leave troops here when it’s done. Reports now suggest the figure may be around 1,000 staying.