BAGHOUZ, Syria – Islamic State (ISIS) has lost its final stronghold in Syria, the U.S. Backed Syrian Democratic Forces announced Saturday, bringing an end to the so-called caliphate declared by the terrorist group 5 years ago.
US President Donald Trump has promised to “totally crush” remaining Islamic State group militants after its five-year “caliphate” came to an end.
Mr Trump’s remarks came after the U.S. backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) raised victory flags in the Syrian town of Baghuz, the IS’s last stronghold.
He vowed to fight “until it is finally defeated wherever it operates”.
Despite losing territory in Syria and Iraq, IS remains active in countries from Nigeria to the Philippines.
At its height, the group controlled 88,000 sq km (34,000 sq miles) in the two countries.
After five years of fierce battles, though, local forces backed by world powers left IS with all but a few hundred square metres near Syria’s border with Iraq.
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In a statement released by the White House on Saturday, Mr Trump said the US would “continue to work with our partners and allies… to fight [IS] until it is finally defeated.”
“The United States will defend American interests whenever and wherever necessary,” the statement reads.
Mr Trump described IS’s loss of territory as “evidence of its false narrative”, adding: “They have lost all prestige and power.”
He also appealed to “all of the young people on the internet believing in [IS] propaganda”, saying: “Think instead about having a great life.”
The SDF alliance began its final assault on IS at the start of March, with the remaining militants holed up in the village of Baghuz in eastern Syria.
The alliance was forced to slow its offensive after it emerged that a large number of civilians were also there, sheltering in buildings, tents and tunnels.