Al-Baghuz Fawqani is a village in Syria, less than 25 miles from the border with Iraq. The last census data, from 2004, had about 10,000 residents in the town. It is 69°F and partly sunny on the afternoon of March 23, 2019 in this Syrian locale, and ISIS (ISIL) is defeated.
This was the last part of Syria that was under control of the terror group and would-be terror state. There is no more “ISIS territory”. They don’t have land, towns, villages. They do not have a caliphate.
For the New York Times, the indispensable Rukmini Callimachi described on Saturday the fierce fight to take that last 1.5 square miles to which the Islamic State held claim.
They detonated car bombs and hurled explosives from drones. Suicide bombers ran across the front line under cover of darkness to attack the sleeping quarters of the coalition.
In the last weeks, the militants’ families fled for their lives, their black-clad wives streaming into the desert by the tens of thousands. Some of them defiantly chanted Islamic State slogansand lobbed fistfuls of dirt at reporters.
But after a grueling campaign, the last speck of land was finally wrested from the Islamic State.
Mustafa Bali, spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces that, with the backing of the U.S.-led coalition, took the town and raised their flag in place of the ISIS flag on Saturday, tweeted about the victory. – read more