US-backed force denies report of final ISIS defeat

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The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) denied a report on Thursday that all of ISIS’s final enclave has been captured after a Kurdish media outlet said the militant group had been finally defeated there.

“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.

Earlier, Hawar News reported the SDF had “liberated all of Baghouz from the ISIS mercenaries” and with that the campaign had “ended with the defeat of ISIS and the victory of the SDF”, quoting its correspondents.

ISIS’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 militants had been mounting a last defense of the tiny enclave, pushing fighters onto a sliver of land at the Euphrates riverside.

US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that a “tiny spot” of remaining ISIS territory would be “gone by tonight”.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, whose country has participated in the campaign, said on Wednesday he expected the announcement of the “final territorial defeat” to be made in the “next few days”.

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