ISIS 'caliphate' totally eliminated – Syria force
BAGHOUZ, Syria – Kurdish-led forces announced on Saturday, March 23, they had fully captured the Islamic State group's last bastion in eastern Syria and declared the total elimination of the jihadists' "caliphate".
"Syrian Democratic Forces declare total elimination of so-called caliphate and 100% territorial defeat of ISIS," Mustefa Bali, spokesman of the US-backed Kurdish-Arab alliance, said in a statement.
Friday afternoon, March 22, mortar rounds hit a former ISIS encampment in the village of Baghouz on the banks of the Euphrates River, sending a column of dark smoke up into the sky, an Agence France-Presse (AFP) correspondent said.
The White House also said Friday the once-sprawling "caliphate" had been wiped out but the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) it backs on the ground stressed that clashes were ongoing until the confirmation
President Donald Trump's spokeswoman, Sarah Sanders, said "the territorial caliphate has been eliminated in Syria."
"Clashes are ongoing in Baghouz. Small ISIS groups refusing to surrender are launching attacks and our forces are responding," SDF spokesman Adnan Afrin told an AFP reporter near Baghouz.
The White House has jumped the gun several times on announcing the demise of ISIS territorial control.
The SDF launched what it called its "final assault" against the jihadists' last redoubt in Baghouz on February 9. – Rappler.com
We keep you informed because you matter
We tell you the stories that matter. We ask, we probe, we explain.
But as we strive to do all this and speak truth to power, we face constant threats to our independence.
Help us make a difference through free and fearless journalism. With your help, you enable us to keep providing you with our brand of compelling and investigative work.
Joining Rappler PLUS allows us to build communities of action with you. PLUS members will receive our editorial newsletters and industry reports, get to join exclusive online conversations with our award-winning journalists, and be part of our monthly events.
Make your move now. Join Rappler PLUS.