As of today the geographical ISIS caliphate, the open control over territory, has ended. There is no longer a geographic land mass under the control and ownership of the extremist ISIS group known as ISIS. All their territory has been removed.
An review of multiple DoD, State and Media reports essentially boils down to ISIS returning to an insurgency, a loosely connected ideological terror group without control over any specific area.
Interestingly, the foreign fighters who traveled to Syria to fight for ISIS were reported as the last ones to give up the caliphate fight. Presumably because they would be unable to assimilate into the local communities, those foreign fighters were the last to be eliminated.
BAGHOUZ, Syria — The caliphate has crumbled, and the final offensive is over. While the official announcement hasn’t yet been made – Fox News has been told that this village, the last ISIS stronghold, is liberated.
It’s the first time since we’ve been here in Syria for five days that the bombs have stopped dropping and the gunfire has disappeared. We have witnessed the end of the caliphate – the brutal empire that once ruled over 8 million people – is gone
The last five days, Fox News has witnessed the last major offensive up close -– with U.S.-backed SDF forces attacking ISIS from three sides, pushing the fighters back, house to house, then tent to tent, against the Euphrates River.
Inside Baghouz, it’s easy to see how they hid for so long – not just in tunnels but trenches and hundreds of cubby holes covered by tarpaulins, which blend in perfectly to the dirt.
In the end, the majority surrendered. In fact, since the start of the year about 60,000 have dripped into the desert, and most are now held in camps.
There is a major concern about what to do with the camps though. The SDF has asked for U.S. support in setting up a tribunal here to prosecute them. (read more)
President Trump took office with specific instructions to the U.S. military to use all options to eliminate the ISIS caliphate.
For four-and-a-half years, ISIS held this territory, ruling over it with an iron fist. It was the terrorist group’s heartland – and they were so dug in that the only way to push them back was to flatten whole villages. The devastation here goes on for miles – and craters like this are a reminder of the critical role played by U.S. airpower. Military jets still fly overhead.
SDF fighters are all so grateful to the U.S., not just for their help in the battle, but now for its decision to leave troops here when it’s done. (link)