Kurds conquer last city in former IS caliphate

With the conquest of Hajin in Syria, the Islamic State loses its last urban stronghold. With that, after three years of fierce battle, especially of Kurdish fighters, the caliphate has been wiped off the map.

The attack on the last piece of caliphate was difficult. It was only after three months of bloody fighting that the Syrian Democratic Forces broke the resistance of Islamic State in Hajin with American and Iraqi support. With the fall of the town, after three years, IS ends its ambition to conquer the whole world with a caliphate.

Capture of the town on the Euphrates, 30 kilometres from the border with Iraq, is the crown on the work of the Kurdish fighters, led by the YPG militia. They made by far the largest contribution to the offensive against IS. A force of 17,000 Kurds conquered village, after village in the inhospitable Syrian of Deir Ezzor governorate. They received help from American elite troops and air force. The Iraqi army gave artillery support from the other side of the border.

Big losses

Losses on both sides were great. The Syrian Democratic Forces lost five hundred fighters, Islamic State about nine hundred. Victims also fell victim to the civilian population. At least 320 people lost their lives, most of them were victims of air raids in support of the ground troops.

on several reports, Islamic State is now sentenced to a guerrilla war from remote villages in the rock-covered desert in the border area. Colonel Sean Ryan, spokesperson for the coalition, speaks of a milestone. “The terrorists no longer have control over large groups of people. They are walking on their last legs, but the battle is not over. They can still strike with coordinated attacks.”

“They are walking on their last legs, but the battle is not over,” Sean Ryan

In and around Hajin, the Kurdish fighters are now doing everything they can to break the last resistance fires of IS. An estimated 5,000 IS fighters, including 2,000 Arab and European terrorists, refuse to surrender. They still offer resistance from caves and a tunnel system where their families would also hide. IS also has shelters at the west of the Euphrates, where the Syrian army and its allies are in charge.

IS leader

According to Donald Trump, “there will be no IS fighter left in the region in a month” “but Syrian and Iraqi victors think this is “very early”. After the fall of Hajin, the question arises where IS leader Abu Bakr al-Bagdadi stops. There are indications that he also hid in Hajin. There is a chance that he is among the last 5,000 IS fighters in the Syrian desert. It is also taken into account that he has already fled to Iraq from East Syria and went underground. Abu Bakr al-Bagdadi was last heard in August. IS then published an audio recording of over 45 minutes via their media channel al-Furqaan. Al-Baghdadi began his speech by congratulating Muslims on the Feast of Sacrifice and called on his followers to “persevere”.

©AFP – Army vehicles of the United States support the Syrian Democratic Armed Forces (SDF) in Hajin during the battle for the last piece of IS caliphate.

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