The so-called Islamic State, a terrorist group which took over large tracts of Syria over the last decade using violence and online propaganda, is finally being cornered into defeat, according to reports emerging from the Middle East.
ISIS now controls less than a quarter of a square mile, a commander with the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) detailed, as reported by CNN. The territorial domain of the ISIS has decreased significantly lately, with SDF forces launching a final offensive last week in an attempt to oust the militants from their final base. ISIS’ last enclave was the eastern Syrian town of Baghouz Al-Fawqan, which, according to reports, is quickly freeing itself from the group’s control.
However, commander of the SDF, Chia Kobani, said that his forces are making sure that the civilians of the village are not harmed in their efforts to eliminate ISIS. The terrorist group is famous for using civilians as human shields, and militants are using this tactic in Baghouz Al-Fawqan as well, Kobani explained.
The SDF has also been tasked with liberating the prisoners held captive by ISIS. The commander claimed that they had liberated no less than 10 prisoners in the last few days. He remained confident that their imminent collapse is on the horizon.
“Some may be surprised that Baghouz has not yet fallen. But the firing has stopped. The area is within range of our fire. But we are moving cautiously because there are thousands of civilians being held as human shields,” Kobani said.
“In the coming few days, very shortly, we will broadcast the good news to the world, to all the people of the region, the Kurds, the Arabs, the Assyrians, all the people of the region, of the military end of the ISIS terrorist group.”
— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 17, 2019
As of yesterday morning, it was thought that the last pocket of ISIS’ control took up less than a quarter of a square mile. Just a few years ago, at the height of its power, the so-called Islamic State controlled an area the size of Great Britain and ruled over 10 million people.
The SDF’s fight won’t end when Baghouz Al-Fawqan is liberated — the US-backed group will look to wipe out ISIS sleeper cells once the town is freed. But that in and of itself is not a foregone conclusion, warned Kobani, as the last few militants are the “most battle-hardened, ruthless and experienced personnel in ISIS.”