Backed fighters say operation at last Daesh enclave not over

Arturo Kim
March 22, 2019

American-backed forces liberated the last territory controlled by ISIS-fighters Thursday; ending a "brutal empire" that at its peak ruled over eight million people across the Middle East.

President Donald Trump shows a map of Syria and Iraq showing the presence of the Islamic State (IS) in 2017 and 2019, as he speaks to reporters before leaving the White House in Washington, Wednesday, March 20, 2019. An SDF spokesman said bombing operations were still underway and it was too early to declare victory. "When I took it over, it was a mess", Trump said.

"I brought this out for you because, this is a map. everything in the red - this was on Election Night in 2016 - everything red is ISIS", he told reporters, pointing to a top image that showed large parts of the region covered in red.

There is a "tiny spot which will be gone by tonight", he added. On Tuesday, a spokesman for US -backed forces fighting IS in Syria says his fighters are in control of an encampment in the village of Baghouz where IS militants have been besieged for months. This just came out 20 minutes so this is ISIS on election day, my election day, and this is ISIS now.

Damaged cars sit in an area recently retaken by USA -backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) from ISIS terrorists in Susah, Syria, on February 16, 2019.

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They were taken away from the frontline to military hospitals.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, whose country has participated in the campaign, said on Wednesday he expected the announcement of the "final territorial defeat" to be made in the "next few days".

While it would represent a significant milestone in Syria's 8-year-old war and in the battle against ISIS, the jihadist group remains a threat.

Fox News notes that the severe devasation in the area lasts for miles and that local fighters "are all so grateful to the USA, not just for their help in the battle, but now for its decision to leave troops here when it's done".

Some of the group's fighters remain holed up in the central Syrian desert and others have gone underground in Iraqi cities to wage an insurgent campaign to destabilize the government.

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