US-backed forces have denied Kurdish media claims that they have captured Islamic State’s final enclave – insisting the operation is still underway.
Hawar had earlier said Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) had ‘liberated all of Baghouz from the Daesh mercenaries’ and that the campaign had ‘ended with the defeat’ of the terror group.
However, SDF officials denied the reports and said combat operations were still underway today.
It comes the morning after US President Donald Trump predicted ISIS was on the verge of being wiped off the map, unfurling printouts showing the jihadists’ shrinking presence in Iraq and Syria.
US-backed forces have denied Kurdish media claims that they have captured Islamic State’s final enclave – insisting the operation is still underway. Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces are pictured giving the V for victory sign earlier this week as they closed in on victory
Hawar said Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have ‘liberated all of Baghouz from the Daesh mercenaries’ and that the campaign had ‘ended with the defeat’ of the terror group. However, SDF officials denied the reports and said combat operations were still underway today
‘Combing continues in the Baghouz camp and there is no truth (to the report) about the complete liberation of the village,’ an SDF media official said, quoting the commanders of the offensive.
The terror group’s final defeat at Baghouz will end its territorial rule that once spanned a third of Iraq and Syria.
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.
Trump yesterday claimed American forces have inflicted significant casualties on the battlefield in the past month.
He has signalled the group’s imminent demise on several previous occasions, although ISIS has yet to wave the white flag of surrender.
In one map shown by Trump to reporters in Washington and then again at a rally to workers at a military tank factory in Lima, Ohio, ISIS territory marked in red extends over large areas.
A second map, he said, shows the extremist organisation about to be wiped out.
‘There is no red. In fact, there’s actually a tiny spot which will be gone by tonight,’ he said at the White House.
Fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) celebrate as they come back from the frontline in the battle against ISIS on Tuesday
After sweeping across swathes of Syria and Iraq in 2014, the ISIS jihadists’ cross-border caliphate has been whittled down by multiple offensives to the tiny embattled enclave in Baghouz, Syria (pictured)
Later in Ohio, standing by M1A2 Abrams tanks painted in camouflage in front of a huge American flag, Trump again used his map props to highlight the military gains against the jihadists.
‘When I took over it was a mess, they were all over the place, all over Syria and Iraq,’ he said of ISIS, pointing at the red territory.
‘And now you look at it, and there’s no red,’ he crowed as workers cheered.
‘As of today, this is ISIS, there’s none. The caliphate is gone as of tonight.’
After sweeping across swathes of Syria and Iraq in 2014, the ISIS jihadists’ cross-border caliphate was whittled down by multiple offensives to the tiny embattled enclave in Baghouz, Syria.
Fighting continued in Baghouz on Wednesday, with the ISIS jihadists surrounded and under heavy fire from a US-led coalition of Kurds, Syrians and others.
Trump claimed US forces in the last month ‘have killed the terrorists responsible for the attack in Syria that killed four Americans.’
On Tuesday a US-backed force in Syria said it arrested the jihadists suspected of involvement in that January attack, the deadliest on US troops since they deployed in the war-torn country in 2014.
Trump also said US forces have killed those who attacked the Bataclan theatre in Paris in 2015, and who orchestrated the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole which left 17 American servicemen dead.
‘We killed them all,’ Trump said. ‘We killed them all.’
In January the US military said that Al-Qaeda operative Jamal al-Badawi, an architect of the bombing, was believed to have been killed in a precision strike in Yemen.
The chief suspect in the USS Cole attack, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, is being held in the US detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.