U.S.-backed Syrian forces were moving on Thursday through the last enclave that had been seized by Islamic State rebels, and stated they would announce about the group’s defeat once the lookout for hidden mines and jihadist holdouts was finished.
Mustafa Bali, a spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces, informed journalists that their forces are still carrying out joint search operations and as soon as they are done wit that they would announce the freedom.
Bali told reporters that the operation consists of removing mines and searching for fighters still hidden in trenches and tunnels dug below Baghouz, which is the last stretch of Islamic State territory.
The last conflict reported by the SDF were on Tuesday, signaling that major clash is over in the last big fight of a five year international campaign against a self-declared caliphate that once consisted of a third of both Iraq and Syria.
On Tuesday, the SDF, supported by the U.S. air power, explored a camp where hundreds of fighters had been holding their defensive position with thousands of civilians; most of them are their own wives and children.
The circumstance in Baghouz seemed calm for a second consecutive day. Warplanes with the U.S.-led coalition, consisting of drones, could be seen overhead.
A news outlet having close ties to the Syrian Kurdish-led authorities, Hawar, reported that the operation has now ended and Islamic State crushed. However, an SDF rebuttal swiftly made apparent that it was not quite ready to declare victory. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) stated another 2,000 women and children had arrived late on Wednesday at the al-Hol camp in northeastern Syria that has welcomed tens of thousands of people who have poured out of the declining Islamic State territory.
Wendy Taeuber, IRC’s Iraq and northeast Syria country director, in a statement stated that they are assuming another 3,000 to reach soon and they are very worried that they might be in a bad state.
Though the crushing of Islamic State at Baghouz stops its grip over populated territory, it remains a risk, with fighters functioning from remote territory elsewhere and capable of mounting rebel attacks.