(Damascus) The glory days of the ISIS, the once frenetically expanding fanatic organisation with large territory holdings in both Iraq and Syria, are now ending. The notorious, savage and blood-drenched jihadi group has been dealt a final knockout blow over the past few days in Baghouz, the last remaining ISIS enclave in the far eastern corner of Deir Ezzor in northern Syria.
The ISIS stronghold in upper Baghouz, a small cluster of hamlets and farmland on the banks of the Euphrates river, has almost fallen to the Kurdish US-backed SDF militias, following targeted battles with desperate Jihadi extremists, who had very little option but to surrender in humiliating defeat, or face certain death.
The remaining demoralized ISIS soldiers in Baghouz felt betrayed by their Supreme Commander and Mentor, the so-called Caliphate Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi. He was reported to have left his men in Baghouz to their ill-fated destiny at the hands of SDF forces some 2 weeks ago. He vanished or more likely fled into hiding, somewhere in the vast desert along the Syrian borders with Iraq.
Commanders of the remaining 3000 strong ISIS combatants, designated as a terrorist organisation by the United Nations, soon reneged on their original Pledge of Allegiance to their Supreme Leader, Al Baghdadi, replacing it with what they term the Pledge of Death; meaning their decision to fight to the death.
Fierce battles have been raging in Baghouz Foukani (Upper Baghouz), with the help of US-led aerial raids against ISIS’s last stronghold, resulting in a massive civilian exodus from the rural area, the majority being the families of the ISIS fighters who had refused to leave or surrender. Air raids along with heavy bombardment and mortar shellings by both SDF as well as units of the Syrian army on the other bank of the Euphrates River have forced thousands of ISIS terrorists to surrender.
Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) spokesman Mustafa Bali claimed 3 days ago that “the number of ISIS members who have laid down arms has risen to 3,000.” Bali added that “3 Yazidi women along with 4 children – previously kidnapped and enslaved by ISIS – have been rescued in the process.”
ISIS, ISIL or Daesh as various parties like to call this Wahhabi-like, extremist and blood-thirsty group of barbarians which has killed, kidnapped and raped hundreds of thousands of civilians, terrorised millions in Iraq and Syria, was left stranded and besieged in the final enclave of Baghouz, an area less than 1% of the vast swaths of territory ISIS at its height had totally control over.
The battle of Baghouz is set to enter into history as the final showdown that spelled the demise of the monstrous Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. Dozens of ISIS combatants were killed and weapon depots destroyed in Baghouz over the past few days.
As the battle to liberate Baghouz was being waged in February, SDF officials estimated that some 500 ISIS fighters along with 1,500 civilians remained in the enclave. After the battle had already begun, it became clear that the actual number was much higher.
As this decisive confrontation approaches its ” final moment”, Kino Gabriel, a spokesman for the SDF, said that after a series of surrenders, the offensive against ISIS was “as good as over”. ” The operation is over, or as good as over, but requires a little more time to be completed practically.” Kino added.
“The objective of our advance is to terrorise ISIS fighters so they surrender, and for the civilians to come out,” said Ali Cheir, an SDF commander. Baghouz is all that remains of ISIL’s so-called caliphate after it lost its major cities of Mosul and Raqqa in 2017.
Some 60,000 people have left the Baghouz area, mainly to settle in the Al Hall camp. The exodus of mainly women and children has sparked a humanitarian crisis in the Kurdish-run camps, which are struggling to accommodate the massive influx of refugees.
From controlling 1 third of both Iraq and Syria, the once unstoppable ISIS crusade to conquer and rule the region and eventually the whole world, has been reduced to a few hundred despondent mercenaries and downhearted Pledgers of Death in a tent hamlet in northeastern Syria, the myth of the self- declared Caliphate, a proto-state theocracy embracing puritanical Wahhabism and al-Qaeda extremist jihadism, is almost over. Their sun, which rose in Mosul, Iraq, and Raqqa, Syria, which threatened to encompass the whole region and beyond, is setting ignominiously in Baghouz, Syria, once and for all.