For days the Syrian Democratic Forces have been fighting to recover the last enclave of the Islamic State Group in Syria. SDF says the battle against the Islamic State group in Baghouz, in Eastern Syria, is as good as over, and that the armed group was facing an imminent defeat.
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Kino Gabriel, a spokesman for the Kurdish-led SDF, said that after the series of surrenders, the offensive against the Islamic State group was "as good as over." "The operation is over, or as good as over, but requires a little more time to be completed practically," Gabriel declared.
Baghouz is all that remains of the Islamic State group's so-called caliphate after it lost its major cities of Mosul and Raqqa in 2017.
Retaking Baghouz would mark a new phase in the fight against the armed group, which once controlled almost one-third of Iraq and Syria under its self-declared "caliphate," said Badran Jia Kurd, advisor to the Kurdish-led administration running north and east Syria.
In response, the armed group put out a new propaganda video earlier this week, insisting on its claim to leadership of all Muslims and calling on its supporters to keep the faith, reported Al-Jazeera. "Tomorrow, God willing, we will be in paradise and they will be burning in hell," Abu Abdul Azeem, a member of the extremist group said.
Since December, around 60,000 people have been forced to leave Baghouz, headed to the al-Hol camp. The population displacement has produced a humanitarian crisis in the Kurdish-run camps, which are struggling to accommodate the mass influx of women and children.
The Syrian civil war started in 2011. The former United Nations special envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, estimated at least 400,000 people had died over the first five years of conflict. The opposition-aligned Syrian Observatory for Human Rights had documented the deaths of 367,965 people by December 2018.