Reuters reporters overlooking Baghouz from a hill on the bank of the Euphrates at the Iraqi border said the area was calm, and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militia searched for tunnels and landmines, an SDF official said.
The SDF on Tuesday captured an encampment where the jihadists had been mounting a last defence of the tiny enclave, pushing diehard fighters onto a sliver of land at the Euphrates riverside.
US President Donald Trump yesterday showed reporters a pair of contrasting maps of Syria, one showing Islamic State-controlled areas when he was elected in late 2016, and what it looks like today.
“When I took over, it was a mess,” Trump said, indicating red areas on the map controlled by ISIS.
“Now, at bottom … there is no red. In fact, there’s actually a tiny spot which will be gone by tonight. So that’s ISIS red right there, and the bottom one is how it is today,” he said.
Islamic State’s defeat at Baghouz would end its territorial control over the third of Syria and Iraq it held in 2014 as it sought to carve out a huge caliphate in the region.
But the jihadist group still remains a threat.
Some of the group’s fighters remain holed up in the central Syrian desert and others have gone underground in Iraqi cities to wage an insurgent campaign to destabilise the government.
The Baghouz enclave was the last part of the huge territory IS seized in 2014, straddling large tracts of Iraq and Syria, where its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a new caliphate.
His fate, along with other Islamic State leaders, is not known, though the United States has said it believes him to be in Iraq.
In the past 24 hours, IS supporters and activists have circulated photos on social media that purportedly show children and women, some alive and some apparently dead, among corpses of fighters after a coalition strike on the encampment.
Reuters was unable immediately to verify the authenticity of the pictures.
Want to comment?
Send us an email, making it clear which story you’re commenting on and including your full name (required for publication) and phone number (only for verification purposes). Please put “Reader views” in the subject.
We’ll publish the best comments in a regular “Reader Views” post. Your comments can be brief, or we can accept up to 350 words, or thereabouts.
InDaily has changed the way we receive comments. Go here for an explanation.
We value local independent journalism. We hope you do too.
InDaily provides valuable, local independent journalism in South Australia. As a news organisation it offers an alternative to The Advertiser, a different voice and a closer look at what is happening in our city and state for free. Any contribution to help fund our work is appreciated. Please click below to become an InDaily supporter.