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Tag: Syria

Death and desperation in Syria as IS makes final stand

Death and desperation in Syria as IS makes final stand

World
By Alex Rossi, Middle East correspondent, in Baghouz, Syria Islamic State is all but finished - what is left of the terror group's land tells the story of an organisation whose fall is as spectacular as its rise.We drove through deserted streets to the town of Baghouz where IS is making its last stand. The buildings have been pummelled from the air.They were once Daesh (Islamic State) positions. Image: The area is still trapped with mines and bombs, which Syrian forces have been clearing But the advance of Kurdish forces is cautious. The area is booby-trapped with mines and roadside bombs.Slowly they are being cleared but it is dangerous and unforgiving work. More from Islamic State The area ...
Islamic State group: Civilians evacuated from last Syria enclave

Islamic State group: Civilians evacuated from last Syria enclave

World
Civilians have been evacuated from the last village in Syria still held by the Islamic State (IS) group.A convoy on Wednesday carried hundreds of men, women and children from Baghuz, near the Iraqi border.The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance have said they are waiting for their removal before launching an offensive against militants "entrenched inside".Those removed are being screened then taken to camps, the SDF say. An estimated 300 IS fighters are thought to be holed up inside a tiny pocket of land.How close is the capture?There have been conflicting reports on how close the SDF is to ridding the enclave of IS.The US-led coalition fighting IS has said the "most hardened" fighters remain within Baghuz.The SDF h...
US envoy Brett McGurk quits over Trump Syria pullout

US envoy Brett McGurk quits over Trump Syria pullout

World
A top US official in the fight against the Islamic State group has quit over President Trump's decision to pull troops from Syria, reports say.Brett McGurk, the US special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat IS, brought his departure forward from February.Before Mr Trump's announcement he had insisted that the US would continue working against IS in Syria.It follows the resignation of Defence Secretary Jim Mattis on Thursday.Gen Mattis had also opposed withdrawing troops from Syria as well as reducing the US presence in Afghanistan.Mr McGurk is an experienced diplomat who was appointed to his current role in 2015 under the Obama administration.In early December he told reporters: "We want to stay on the ground a...
US Syria withdrawal will lead to 'revival of IS'

US Syria withdrawal will lead to 'revival of IS'

World
Donald Trump's decision to pull US forces out of Syria will lead to a revival of Islamic State in the country, Syrian rebels have warned. The US-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said pulling American troops and officials out of its region would have "dangerous implications" on international stability.In a statement, the SDF said: "The White House's decision to withdraw from northern and eastern Syria will negatively affect the campaign against terrorism.It would also "create a political and military vaccum in the area, leaving its people between the claws of hostile parties," it said.Wednesday's surprise White House announcement has clearly rattled Washington's Kurdish allies, who are its most reliable partner in Syria and among the most effective ground f...
Syria conflict: US officials withdraw troops after IS 'defeat'

Syria conflict: US officials withdraw troops after IS 'defeat'

World
The Trump administration says US troops are being withdrawn from Syria, after the president said the Islamic State (IS) group had been "defeated".The Pentagon said it was transitioning to the "next phase of the campaign" but did not give details.Some 2,000 troops have helped rid much of north-eastern Syria of IS, but pockets of fighters remain.It had been thought defence officials wanted to maintain a US presence to ensure IS did not rebuild.There are also fears a US withdrawal will cede influence in Syria and the wider region to Russia and Iran. Trump's Syria troop removal prompts questions After the caliphate: What next for IS? Both the Pentagon and the White House statement said the US had started "returning United States troo...