A look back at the battle for Syria

World Today

A look back at the battle for Syria(Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE / AFP)

The U.S. backed forces have declared an end to the so-called ‘caliphate’ in Syria. The Syrian Democratic Forces say Baghouz , the last ISIL enclave, has been eliminated.

The SDF said it would continue to fight jihadist “sleeper cells” which still poses a threat, but one point, ISIL controlled large amounts of territory, spanning both Iraq and Syria.

CGTN’s Toby Muse reports.

The Islamic State rose out of the ashes of Al Qaeda in Iraq in 2006, and in 2013 it announced the incorporation of a Syrian radical Islamist militant group and changes its name to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, ISIL.

ISIL became a deadly force behind the carnage of Syria’s civil war, fighting alongside rebels against the government of President Bashar Al Assad.

In 2014, ISIL made history. In succession, the group conquered Falluja, Tikrit and Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city. The world was stunned by ISIL’s lightning attacks and in June, ISIL announced the creation of a caliphate.

In May 2015, ISIL seized power in Ramadi, in Western Iraq, and Palmyra in Syria was also taken alter. ISIL’s lands equaled the size of the United Kingdom.

Now, ISIL must defend its territory as the tide shifts.

June 2016, Iraqi forces take back Falluja.  July 2017, Mosul is freed from ISIL at a horrendous cost, thousands dead and much of the city destroyed. Shortly afterwards, the group loses its self-declared capital, Raqqa in Syria, the first town it ever really controlled. December 2017, Iraq said it had taken all territory back from ISIL.

Throughout 2018, ISIL lost territory in Syria, under pressure from Syrian and Kurdish fighters.

Finally, ISIL made its final stand in Baghouz, eastern Syria. The group is defeated and lost all its ground.
The United States has been crucial in the fight against ISIL, its airstrikes backing up troops on the ground. But exactly how long the US will remain in Syria is an open question, as President Donald Trump has given conflicting statements on the number of US troops who will stay there.