Small Wars Journal

Troops Celebrate as U.S.-Backed Force Seizes ISIS Camp in Syria

Troops Celebrate as U.S.-Backed Force Seizes ISIS Camp in Syria by Philip Issa – AP

U.S.-backed Syrian forces on Tuesday seized control of an encampment held by the Islamic State group in eastern Syria, after hundreds of militants surrendered overnight, a spokesman said, signaling the group's collapse after months of stiff resistance. A group of suspects involved in a January bombing that killed four Americans in northern Syria were among militants captured by the Kurdish-led forces.

 

The taking of the ISIS camp was a major advance but not the final defeat of the group in Baghouz, the last village held by the extremists where they have been holding out for weeks under siege, according to Mustafa Bali, the spokesman for the Kurdish-led force known as the Syrian Democratic Forces. Still, fighters from the force were starting to celebrate anyway.

 

"I'm happy it's over. Now I know my people are safe," said a fighter who identified himself as Walid Raqqawi who fought in the camp Monday night. He said he is returning to his hometown of Raqqa to rest. Comrades from his unit sang and danced in celebration at an outpost in Baghouz, all saying they were looking forward to going home.

 

An unknown number of ISIS militants still clung to a tiny sliver of land trapped between the Euphrates River and the encampment now held by the SDF, officials in the force said…

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