The Islamic State’s caliphate has been defeated, U.S.-backed forces say


President Donald Trump said Friday "it's about time" that the group no longer controls territory in the region, after a campaign by us and coalition forces that spanned five years and two USA presidencies, unleashed more than 100,000 bombs, and killed untold numbers of civilians.

As their commanders on Saturday declared final victory over the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS), the soldiers of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) unfurled their yellow flag atop a bullet-ridden building in celebration.

A spokesman for the US -backed Syrian Democratic Forces said the group had achieved "total elimination" of the group's so-called caliphate.

Fighters of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces' victory over the remote riverside village of Baghouz where IS made its last stand capped a deadly six-month operation against the final remnants of IS-controlled territory once stretched across a vast swathe of Iraq and Syria with seven million people in its sway.

The official declaration of victory is of mostly symbolic value.

2013: Al Baghdadi renames Islamic State in Iraq, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or Isil.

2019 - IS fighters are defeated at their last enclave on the Euphrates at the village of Baghouz, the SDF says.

Militants in Libya behead Christians and pledge allegiance to IS, followed by groups in other countries, but they stay operationally independent.

The fall of Baghouz brings to a close a almost 5-year global campaign against the Islamic State group that raged in two countries, spanned two USA presidencies and saw a US -led coalition unleash more than 100,000 strikes.

The SDF has been battling to capture Baghouz at the Iraqi border for weeks. There is no more "ISIS territory".

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He aded: "The US have said they are going to keep a presence in northern Syria so air power will play an important part in that, and we expect the British contribution to keep going on that side".

"We managed to evacuate about 3,000 people from (the) ISIS pocket", Mustefa Bali said on Twitter, using another acronym for IS.

SDF spokesman Kino Gabriel said Friday there were IS fighters hiding in caves near Baghouz and that clearing operations were still underway.

It is not the first time the US President has claimed the defeat of the Islamic State in Syria, tweeting a similar message in December.

In a separate statement Saturday, President Donald Trump said the region had been "liberated", but added the United States will remain vigilant.

The group carried out massacres and documented them with slickly produced videos circulated online. Many are still missing.

Before the offensive started, SDF officials estimated that 1,500 civilians and 500 ISIS fighters remained, but as the assault got under way it became clear that the actual number was much higher.

IS once imposed its rule on nearly eight million people, and generated billions of dollars from oil, extortion, robbery and kidnapping, using its territory as a platform to launch foreign attacks.

Ashkarani has already told his fiancee he and his comrades have finally won after a grinding months-long battle.

Then its fighters slaughter more than 200 people and injure some 180 more in coordinated suicide bombings and gun attacks in and around Sweida in Syria.