LAHORE MIRROR (Monitoring Report)– The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have announced the final defeat of Islamic State group’s five-year “caliphate” in Syria.
SDF fighters have been raising victory flags in Baghuz, the last stronghold of the jihadist group.
At its height, IS controlled 88,000 sq km (34,000 sq miles) of land stretching across Syria and Iraq.
But despite the loss of of territory the group is still seen as a major global security threat.
IS retains a presence in the region and has affiliates in several other countries such as Nigeria, Yemen, Afghanistan and the Philippines.
The Kurdish-led SDF alliance began its final assault on IS at the start of March, with the remaining militants holed up in the village of Baghuz in eastern Syria.
The alliance was forced to slow its offensive after it emerged that a large number of civilians were also there, sheltering in buildings, tents and tunnels.
Thousands of women and children, foreign nationals among them, fled the fighting and severe shortages to make their way to SDF-run camps for displaced persons.
Many IS fighters have also abandoned Baghuz, but those who stayed put up fierce resistance, deploying suicide bombers and car bombs.
“Syrian Democratic Forces declare total elimination of so-called caliphate and 100% territorial defeat of Isis [the IS group],” Mustafa Bali, the head of the SDF media office, tweeted.
“On this unique day, we commemorate thousands of martyrs whose efforts made the victory possible.”
US President Donald Trump declared IS defeated late last year, announcing plans to withdraw US troops, a move that alarmed allies and prompted the resignation of senior officials. The White House has since said some US forces will remain in the region.
French President Emmanuel Macron also welcomed the SDF’s announcement and said major danger for his country has been evaporated.
SOURCE: BBC NEWS