The US-backed fighters in Syria have declared military victory over ISIL on Saturday, ending a four-year battle against the group that once held territory spanning a third of Syria and Iraq.
The declaration comes after the allied forces recaptured and cleared explosives from the last village held by ISIS called Baghouz. A field pitted with abandoned trenches and bomb craters, and littered with scorched tents and the twisted metal carcasses of vehicles, was all that remained.
The eradication of the last stronghold in Baghouz brings to an end an exhausting final battle that took place in several weeks and saw thousands of people flee the territory and surrender in desperation, and hundreds killed.
The fall of Baghouz spells the end of the ISIL group’s so-called caliphate, which at its height four years ago was home to some 8 million people, but the group still maintains a scattered presence and sleeper cells across Syria and Iraq.
While the defeat of the group in Syria is a major success against the notorious global terror group, the war hasn’t been won seeing as its affiliates in parts of Asia, Middle East, Africa’s Sahel and Maghreb regions still poses a major threat as well as sympathizers, financiers and lone wolves scattered across the globe.