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Islamic State Loses Caliphate in Syria

Islamic State Loses Caliphate in Syria

Washington D.C. [USA]: US President Donald Trump claims to have destroyed the "ISIS physical Caliphate" in Syria and Iraq ever since taking office in 2016.

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that the last pocket of the Islamic State's land in Syria would be liberated by USA -backed forces "by tonight".

The Syrian Democratic Forces recently pushed the last of ISIS terrorists outside the village of Baghuz after intense fighting between the two sides.

There was no immediate update from the SDF on Wednesday on the fate of these remaining militants.

The last clashes reported by the SDF were on Tuesday, indicating that major fighting is over in the last big battle of a five year global campaign against a self-proclaimed caliphate that once comprised a third of both Iraq and Syria.

Heavy smoke rises above the Islamic State (IS) group's last remaining position in the village of Baghouz during battles with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), in the countryside of the eastern Syrian province of Deir Ezzor on March 18, 2019.

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It warned the group could resurge in Syria within six to 12 months and regain limited territory without sustained pressure.

Associated Press journalists saw SDF soldiers loading women and children into trailer trucks on the hilltop over Baghouz - a sign that evacuations were still underway Wednesday.

Women and children leaving Baghouz have spoken to Reuters and other worldwide media of harsh conditions under siege in the encampment, surviving heavy aerial bombardment and with food supplies so scarce that some resorted to eating grass.

The coalition says it takes great care to avoid killing civilians and investigates reports that it has done so.

The camp is now holding more than 72,000 people, including more than 40,000 children, IRC said. Relatives and former residents told Reuters many of them were Iraqi Arab Sunni Muslim families who crossed into Syria fleeing revenge by Iranian-backed Shi'ite Muslim militias that had overrun their towns.

The SDF estimated at least 5,000 fighters surrendered. "Many have been caught up in the fighting and dozens have been burnt or badly injured by shrapnel", Wendy Taeuber, IRC's Iraq and northeast Syria country director, said in a statement.