The Islamic State group’s once-vast caliphate is in its death throes, a top leader of the force fighting the terrorist organization has said.
Reuters reported that Jiya Furat, a commander with the Syrian Democratic Forces, said that the SDF and its allies have trapped the final cohorts of Islamic State fighters in one part of the village of Baghouz, which is close to Syria’s border with Iraq. .
“In the coming few days, in a very short time, we will spread the good tidings to the world of the military end of Daesh,” he said Saturday, using one name for the Islamic State group.
As reported by The Western Journal, the demise of the Islamic State has spawned fears that its will increase its terrorist activities.
Still, the looming defeat of its forces is a far cry from the days of 2014 when the group was able to conquer large parts of Syria and Iraq.
On Friday, President Donald Trump foreshadowed positive news about the effort to quash the Islamic State.
“We have a lot of great announcements having to do with Syria and our success with the eradication of the caliphate. And that will be announced over the next 24 hours. And many other things. A lot of positive things are going on,” Trump said, according to a White House media pool report.
According to The U.K. Independent, Furat said that the presence of civilians has slowed the pace of the attack.
“Some may be surprised that Baghouz has not yet fallen. But the firing has stopped,” said Commander Chia Kobani, head of operations for the SDF, CNN reported. “The area is within range of our fire. But we are moving cautiously because there are thousands of civilians being held as human shields.”
Furat said SDF forces control most of the village, leaving the Islamic State in control of only about 700 square meters of territory.
SDF spokesperson Mustafa Bali said that once the village is taken, the task ahead for the SDF will be “chasing down sleeper cells and remnants spread out across the region to secure it,” according to The Independent.
While attending the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, Vice President Mike Pence responded to German criticism of U.S. plans to withdraw troops once the military phase of the operation against the Islamic State is finished.
Pence said the decision represents “a change in tactics not a change in mission.”
“The United States will keep a strong presence in the region. We recognize it will not be enough to simply reclaim the territory of the caliphate,” he said.
“As we enter this new phase, the United States will continue to work with all of our allies to hunt down the remnants of ISIS wherever and whenever they rear their ugly head.”
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