US-backed Syrian force declares victory over Islamic State 

Source: US-backed Syrian force declares victory over Islamic State | The Times of Israel

I Another Israeli “war crime” per the UN and another reason to impeach Trump per the Democrats. – JW )

Syrian Democratic Forces announces it has liberated final area held by terrorist group in village of Baghouz; says caliphate is gone but pledges to fight remnants

A picture taken on March 23, 2019 shows the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces’ (SDF) flag atop a building in the Islamic State group’s last bastion in the eastern Syrian village of Baghouz after defeating the jihadist group (Giuseppe CACACE / AFP)

BAGHOUZ, Syria (AP) — US-backed forces in Syria announced Saturday they have liberated the last pocket of territory held by the Islamic State in Syria, declaring victory over the extremist group and bringing an end to the caliphate it declared in 2014.

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.

“Baghouz is free and the military victory against Daesh has been achieved,” tweeted Mustafa Bali, a spokesman for the SDF, referring to the group by its Arabic acronym.

The elimination of the last IS stronghold in Baghouz marks the end of the militants’ proto-state, which at its height blanketed large parts of Syria and Iraq, but the group maintains a scattered presence and sleeper cells across Syria and Iraq. IS affiliates in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, Afghanistan and other countries continue to pose a threat, and the group’s ideology has inspired so-called lone-wolf attacks that had little if any connection to its leadership.

This picture taken on March 22, 2019 shows smoke rising over the village of Baghouz in the eastern Syrian province of Deir Ezzor. (GIUSEPPE CACACE / AFP)

The campaign to take back the territory by the US and its partners has spanned five years and two US presidencies, unleashed more than 100,000 bombs and killed untold numbers of fighters and civilians.

But the weekend announcement, in a tweet, was anti-climactic, and on the ground sporadic gunfire continued. A day earlier, US President Donald Trump declared that Islamic State militants no longer control any territory in Syria.

Associated Press journalists in Baghouz on Saturday reported hearing mortars and gunfire directed toward a cliff overlooking Baghouz, where US-led coalition airstrikes were carried out a day earlier. SDF spokesman Kino Gabriel told the AP Friday that there were IS fighters hiding in caves near Baghouz and that clearing operations were still underway.

On Saturday, journalists were taken to an encampment in Baghouz where the group had made its last stand — a wasteland of wrecked vehicles, torn tents and scorched trees.

Personal belongings and other items including generators, oil barrels, water tanks and satellite dishes were scattered in the dirt. Cars and motorcycles were turned to rusted, twisted heaps of metal. Amid the empty fox holes and trenches stood a building with a huge yellow SDF flag on top.

Smoke rises from a strike on Baghouz, Syria, on the Islamic State group’s last piece of territory on March 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

Ciya Kobani, an SDF commander, announced the end of the operation from the rooftop: “We have been victorious against Daesh,” he declared.

At its height, the Islamic State group ruled a third of both Syria and Iraq, holding millions of people hostage to its harsh and violent interpretation of Islamic law. The group carried out large-scale massacres and documented them with slickly produced videos circulated online. During a rampage through Iraq’s Sinjar region in 2014, it captured thousands of women and girls from the Yazidi religious minority and forced them into sexual slavery. Many remain missing to this day.

The group also used its caliphate as a launchpad for attacks around the globe, including the assaults in Paris in 2015 that killed more than 130 people.

While it imposed an unforgiving version of Islamic law through public beheadings and crucifixions, the group also carried out the mundane duties of governance in its territories, including regulating prices at markets and building infrastructure.

 

Explore posts in the same categories: Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s