Syrian forces took control Tuesday of an encampment held by the Islamic State group in eastern Syria, after dozens of militants surrendered overnight, a spokesman said. A group of dlinkddns unknown patch number involved in a January bombing that killed four Americans in northern Syria were among militants captured by the Kurdish-led forces.
The taking of the IS encampment was a major advance but not the final defeat of the group in Baghouz, the last village held by the extremists where they have been holding out for weeks under siege, according to Mustafa Bali, the spokesman for the Kurdish-led force known as the Syrian Democratic Forces. An unknown number of militants still clung to a tiny sliver of land about 200 meters by 200 meters trapped between the Euphrates River and the encampment now held by the SDF, officials in the force said. The militants have been putting up a desperate fight, their notorious propaganda machine working even on the brink of collapse. On Monday, IS issued a video showing its militants furiously defending the encampment, a junkyard of wrecked cards, motorcycles and tents. They shoot nonstop with AK-47s and M-16s from behind trucks, vehicles and sand berms.
A group of children could be seen at one point amid the fighting. My Muslim brothers everywhere, we did our best, the rest is up to God,” a fighter said to the backdrop of black smoke rising from behind him. The complete fall of Baghouz would mark the end of the Islamic State group’s self-declared territorial “caliphate,” which at its height stretched across much of Syria and Iraq. For the past four years, U. But even after Baghouz’s fall, IS maintains a scattered presence and sleeper cells that threaten a continuing insurgency.
The battle for Baghouz has dragged on for weeks — and the encampment has proven a major battleground, with tents covering foxholes and underground tunnels. The siege has also been slowed by the unexpectedly large number of civilians in Baghouz, most of them families of IS members. Over past weeks they have been flowing out and the sheer number who emerged — nearly 30,000 since early January according to Kurdish officials — took the Kurdish-led SDF by surprise. In the last two weeks, many IS militants appeared to be among those evacuating. But SDF commanders have stopped speculating when the battle may finally be over.
Commanders say they don’t know how many more may still be left, hiding in tunnels beneath the war-scarred village. In the seizure Tuesday of the encampment, hundreds of wounded and sick militants were captured and have been evacuated to nearby military hospitals for treatment, Bali, the SDF spokesman, said in a Twitter post. Still, he cautioned, “this is not a victory announcement, but a significant progress in the fight. There were conflicting reports from SDF commanders on the ground about the extent of the IS surrender.