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Breaking: ISIS Caliphate Has Officially Fallen, Last Stronghold Liberated - Report

The final offensive to liberate land held by the Islamic State reportedly ended on Thursday with the last stronghold taken by the U.S. and its allies.

Fox News’ Benjamin Hall, who has been reporting from the front lines in eastern Syria, learned the village of Baghouz near the Iraq border — which was the final ISIS stronghold — has been liberated.

“It’s the first time since we’ve been here in Syria for five days that the bombs have stopped dropping and the gunfire has disappeared. We have witnessed the end of the caliphate – the brutal empire that once ruled over 8 million people – is gone,” Hall wrote.

According to the correspondent, none of the main surviving ISIS leaders was caught in Baghouz, but they are believed to have escaped to prepare for an insurgency.

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On Wednesday, President Donald Trump predicted that the caliphate’s demise would occur that night.

Using two maps depicting in red ISIS held territory on election night in November 2016 and compared to now, he said, “When I took it over, it was a mess.”

“Now, on the bottom, there is no red. In fact, there’s actually a tiny spot which will be gone by tonight,” he said.

“This just came out 20 minutes ago,” Trump added. “So this is ISIS on Election Day, my election day, and this is ISIS now. So that’s the way it goes.”

While testifying before Congress earlier this month, the outgoing head of U.S. Central Command warned the United States and its allies cannot afford to let their guard down, despite ISIS’ string of defeats on the battlefield.

“Reduction of the physical caliphate is a monumental military accomplishment but the fight against ISIS and violent extremism is far from over,” Gen. Joseph Votel told the House Armed Services Committee.

At that time, the general noted that the organization’s territory has shrunk from 34,000 square miles at the height of its power to an area of less than a square mile in the town of Baghouz, located near Syria’s border with Iraq.

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“What we are seeing now is not the surrender of ISIS as an organization but a calculated decision to preserve the safety of their families and preservation of their capabilities by taking their chances in camps for internally displaced persons and going to ground in remote areas and waiting for the right time to resurge,” Votel said.

“The ISIS population being evacuated from the remaining vestiges of the caliphate largely remains unrepentant, unbroken and radicalized,” he added, based on observations from U.S. troops on the ground in Syria.

The Pentagon estimates there are between 10,000 and 20,000 Islamic State fighters left in Iraq and Syria who have gone to ground and are preparing to fight an extended insurgency.

Trump said Wednesday that he plans to leave 400 U.S. troops in Syria, with 200 located closer to the border with Israel where Iranian-backed forces have been active, The Hill reported.

According to Hall, Syrian Democratic Forces are grateful to the U.S. not just for helping bring about ISIS’ defeat on the battlefield, but for leaving troops on the ground to help stabilize the region.

There are currently believed to be about 1,000 U.S. soldiers in Syria.

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 1,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Birthplace
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Nationality
American
Honors/Awards
Graduated dean's list from West Point
Education
United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law
Books Written
We Hold These Truths
Professional Memberships
Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars
Location
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment, Faith




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