U.S.-backed forces declared military victory over the Islamic State group in Syria on 23rd March 2019, after liberating the last pocket of territory held by the militants, marking the end of a brutal self-styled caliphate the group carved out in large parts of Iraq and Syria in 2014. The nearly five-year war that has devastated cities and towns across north Syria and Iraq ended in Baghouz, a minor border village where the cornered militants made their last stand, under a extremely tiring and demanding reign for weeks.
Cornered in Baghouz, the group fought fiercely and desperately to hang on to the last shred of territory it controlled, using thousands of civilians, including women and children, as human shields. In the final weeks, they streamed out of Baghouz, angry and hungry, overwhelming Kurdish-run camps in northern Syria where they are being held.
On saturday, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) raised their bright yellow banner from a shell-pocked house where the ISIS militants once flew their notorious black flag. Below it stretched a field shattered by the battle, pitted by trenches and bomb craters and littered with scorched tents, twisted wreckage of burned out vehicles, unspent explosives and few remaining corpses.The victory declaration sets the stage for President Donald Trump to begin withdrawing most of the 2,000 U.S. troops stationed in northern Syria, as he abruptly announced in December that he would do. Trump, however, later agreed to leave a small peacekeeping force of 200 soldiers in Syria to ensure Turkey will not get into a conflict with the SDF. Turkey views Kurdish members of the SDF as terrorists. The Kurds fear being abandoned by the Americans. They are squeezed between a hostile and agressive Turkey from the north, which regards them as a national threat and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces from the south.
Tags : #Syria #ISIS #US #Armed #Forces #Free #IslamicState