US-backed forces sweep ISIS outpost for landmines and hidden militants

Fighters in Syria are scouring the last few hundred square yards of ISIS territory for landmines, secret tunnels and any hiding jihadists after pushing the terror group into their last sliver of land.  
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), backed by the U.S., are clearing areas they captured yesterday as they reduced the ISIS 'caliphate' to a tiny patch of bombed-out scrapyard in eastern Syria. 
An official with the fighters said there was calm and no clashes today as Syrian forces were seen singing, dancing and giving V-for-victory signs to celebrate 'victory' in Baghouz. 
In one video released by Syrian forces a group of fighters are seen jigging in rhythm in the desert as they mark the 'end of the ISIS caliphate'. 
SDF soldiers were today women and children into trailer trucks on the hilltop over Baghouz, in a sign evacuations were ongoing today, while black smoke could be seen rising from the village.  
The last diehard ISIS fighters continued clashing with the SDF on Tuesday night but the terror group is on the brink of defeat after holding a third of Syria and Iraq in 2014. 
Last battle: Smoke rises from the Islamic State's last remaining position in the village of Baghouz during battles with the Syrian Democratic Forces in Baghouz today
Last battle: Smoke rises from the Islamic State's last remaining position in the village of Baghouz during battles with the Syrian Democratic Forces in Baghouz today 
Last few: Suspected Islamic State fighters and civilians are screened by members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the village of Baghouz today
Last few: Suspected Islamic State fighters and civilians are screened by members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the village of Baghouz today 
Soldiers dance after forces clear ISIS's encampment in Baghouz
Last push: Smoke rises from the last besieged neighbourhood in the village of Baghouz, where ISIS have been reduced to their last sliver of land less than five years after they controlled a third of Syria and Iraq
Last push: Smoke rises from the last besieged neighbourhood in the village of Baghouz, where ISIS have been reduced to their last sliver of land less than five years after they controlled a third of Syria and Iraq 
Final battle: Heavy smoke rises above the Islamic State (IS) group's last remaining position in the village of Baghouz during battles with the Syrian Democratic Forces
Final battle: Heavy smoke rises above the Islamic State (IS) group's last remaining position in the village of Baghouz during battles with the Syrian Democratic Forces
Syrian Democratic Forces gesture the 'V' for victory sign as they come back from the frontline in the battle against ISIS in Baghouz today
Syrian Democratic Forces gesture the 'V' for victory sign as they come back from the frontline in the battle against ISIS in Baghouz yesterday
Reduced to a burning scrapyard: ISIS fighters and followers have been steadily forced back to Baghouz after years of retreats in the face of military campaigns by an array of foreign and local forces. Pictures show the bombed-out remains of cars in the terror group's last stronghold
Reduced to a burning scrapyard: ISIS fighters and followers have been steadily forced back to Baghouz after years of retreats in the face of military campaigns by an array of foreign and local forces. Pictures show the bombed-out remains of cars in the terror group's last stronghold
At the height of its power the Islamic State's 'caliphate' stretched from Baghdad in Iraq all the way across north eastern Syria in the west - the dwindling remains have been constricted into the town of Baghouz in the Deir'ez-Zur region of eastern Syria
At the height of its power the Islamic State's 'caliphate' stretched from Baghdad in Iraq all the way across north eastern Syria in the west - the dwindling remains have been constricted into the town of Baghouz in the Deir'ez-Zur region of eastern Syria
The SDF says that it has seized a key encampment from the jihadists and that victory will come 'very soon'. A map shows the territory held by ISIS two days ago
Maps show how ISIS fighters are retreating into an ever smaller pocket of land in Syria. The area in red was all the terror group had left yesterday
US-backed SDF fighters said they were even closer to driving ISIS out of Baghouz yesterday. A map shows the territory (in red) now held by the terror group
The extremists had retreated into a tiny parcel of land, with some reportedly having used their own children as human shields, after they were forced out of the camp where they had been holding out. 
Pictures yesterday showed the burning remains of cars along the banks of the Euphrates river where ISIS fanatics have been desperately digging in over the last few months. 
Hundreds of militants had surrendered on Monday, an SDF spokesman said, signalling the terror group's collapse after months of stiff resistance.
The fighters also revealed they had captured a group of alleged terrorists suspected of being behind a suicide attack in northern Syria that left four Americans dead earlier this year.   
The taking of the ISIS camp was a major advance but not the final defeat of the group in Baghouz, but fighters from Syrian forces were celebrating nonetheless.  
'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. 
Hardened militant fighters holed up in the encampment have been mounting a last-stand defence of the enclave, all that is left of ISIS's self-proclaimed 'caliphate' that once spanned a third of both Syria and Iraq. 
The militants have been putting up a desperate fight, their notorious propaganda machine working even on the brink of collapse. 
On Monday, ISIS issued a video showing its militants furiously defending the encampment, a junkyard of wrecked cards, motorcycles and tents. 
Rescue: A man stands in the back of a truck used by Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to evacuate fighters and civilians from the Islamic State
Rescue: A man stands in the back of a truck used by Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to evacuate fighters and civilians from the Islamic State
Fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) stand at a position overlooking the camp of Baghouz where remaining Islamic State fighters are holding out
Fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) stand at a position overlooking the camp of Baghouz where remaining Islamic State fighters are holding out 
Battle: A Syrian Democratic Forces fighter is seen on a military vehicle in the village of Baghouz during the fighting
Battle: A Syrian Democratic Forces fighter is seen on a military vehicle in the village of Baghouz during the fighting
Struggle: Three Syrian Democratic Forces fighters sit on top of a tank in Baghouz during the final push against ISIS this week
Struggle: Three Syrian Democratic Forces fighters sit on top of a tank in Baghouz during the final push against ISIS this week
SDF patrol Baghouz camp after it was liberated from ISIS
Fighting has been intense as SDF fighters move in on ISIS positions in the village of Baghouz. Pictures show smoke rising over the enclave on the banks of the Euphrates in eastern Syria
Fighting has been intense as SDF fighters move in on ISIS positions in the village of Baghouz. Pictures show smoke rising over the enclave on the banks of the Euphrates in eastern Syria
ISIS caliphate crumbles as US backed forces continue offensive
U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters sing and link arms as they celebrate their territorial gains over ISIS this afternoon
U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters sing and link arms as they celebrate their territorial gains over ISIS this afternoon
Fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) made the 'V' for victory sign as they come back from the frontline today
Fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) made the 'V' for victory sign as they come back from the frontline 
The SDF captured hundreds of wounded militants when it overran the camp on Tuesday, Bali said. It also captured 157 mostly foreign fighters. An SDF fighter makes a 'V for victory' sign today
The SDF captured hundreds of wounded militants when it overran the camp on Tuesday, Bali said. It also captured 157 mostly foreign fighters. An SDF fighter makes a 'V for victory' sign yesterday
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
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
They shoot nonstop with AK-47s and M-16s from behind trucks, vehicles and sand berms. A group of children could be seen at one point amid the fighting.
'My Muslim brothers everywhere, we did our best, the rest is up to God,' a fighter said to the backdrop of black smoke rising from behind him.
The SDF captured hundreds of wounded militants when it overran the camp on Tuesday, a spokesman said. It also captured 157 mostly foreign fighters.
Asked how long it would take to defeat the remaining jihadists, a spokesman said he expected the operation to end 'very soon'. Some remaining militants had fallen back to the bank of the nearby Euphrates River, he said.
'The battles are not yet over,' he said. 'Some of the terrorists have taken their children as human shields. There are intermittent clashes.'
ISIS fighters and followers have been steadily forced back to Baghouz after years of retreats in the face of military campaigns by an array of foreign and local forces.
Warfare: Heavy smoke rises above the Islamic State (IS) group's last remaining position in the village of Baghouz
Warfare: Heavy smoke rises above the Islamic State (IS) group's last remaining position in the village of Baghouz
Interpreter Ghadir Taher, 27
Navy Chief Cryptologic Technician Shannon Kent, 35
Interpreter Ghadir Taher, 27, (left) and Naval officer Shannon Kent, 35, (right) were killed in a blast in Manbij in January, as the SDF announced yesterday they had made arrests relating to the attack
Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jonathan R. Farmer, 37
Former Navy Seal Scott A. Wirtz, 42,
Army Chief Warrant Officer II Jonathan R. Farmer, 37, (left) and former Navy Seal Scott A. Wirtz, 42, (right) were killed in the blast in Manbij along with two other Americans - SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali said they had apprehended those who facilitated the attack
Evacuation: Trucks used by the Syrian Democratic Forces are shown transporting fighters and civilians from the last remaining Syrian land held by ISIS today
Evacuation: Trucks used by the Syrian Democratic Forces are shown transporting fighters and civilians from the last remaining Syrian land held by ISIS yesterday
A man stands in the back of a truck used by the SDF to evacuate people from Baghouz today. SDF officials say they are close to driving the terror group out of the village
A man stands in the back of a truck used by the SDF to evacuate people from Baghouz yesterday. SDF officials say they are close to driving the terror group out of the village 
The area held by ISIS in Baghouz is the last pocket of territory in Syria controlled by the extremist group, which once held a vast area of Syria and Iraq, calling it an Islamic 'caliphate'. Pictured: An SDF fighter takes aim during the battle for Baghouz
The area held by ISIS in Baghouz is the last pocket of territory in Syria controlled by the extremist group, which once held a vast area of Syria and Iraq, calling it an Islamic 'caliphate'. Pictured: An SDF fighter takes aim during the battle for Baghouz
For the past four years, U.S.-led forces have waged a destructive campaign to tear down the 'caliphate.' But even after Baghouz's fall, ISIS maintains a scattered presence and sleeper cells that threaten a continuing insurgency.
The battle for Baghouz has dragged on for weeks - and the encampment has proven a major battleground, with tents covering foxholes and underground tunnels.
The siege has also been slowed by the unexpectedly large number of civilians in Baghouz, most of them families of IS members. 
Over past weeks they have been flowing out, exhausted, hungry and often wounded. The sheer number who emerged - nearly 30,000 since early January according to Kurdish officials - took the Kurdish-led SDF by surprise.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the blast outside a popular restaurant in Manbij, which killed at least 16 people, including two U.S. service members and two American civilians. It was the deadliest assault on U.S. troops in Syria since American forces went into the country in 2015. 
In the last two weeks, many IS militants appeared to be among those evacuating. But SDF commanders have stopped speculating when the battle may finally be over. 
Commanders say they don't know how many more may still be left, hiding in tunnels beneath the war-scarred village.
In the seizure Tuesday of the encampment, hundreds of wounded and sick militants were captured and have been evacuated to nearby military hospitals for treatment, Bali, the SDF spokesman, said in a Twitter post. Still, he cautioned, 'this is not a victory announcement, but a significant progress in the fight.'
The extremists are retreating in to an ever shrinking parcel of land at Baghouz in the country's east - with some now said to be using their own children as human shields. Pictured: An ISIS fighter waving the jihadists' black and white flag in Baghouz on Monday
The extremists are retreating in to an ever shrinking parcel of land at Baghouz in the country's east - with some now said to be using their own children as human shields. Pictured: An ISIS fighter waving the jihadists' black and white flag in Baghouz on Monday
Over the past two months, more than 60,000 people have poured out of the dwindling enclave, nearly half of whom surrendered as ISIS supporters, including some 5,000 fighters, according to the SDF. ISIS released this image of fighters firing their weapons from inside Baghouz
Over the past two months, more than 60,000 people have poured out of the dwindling enclave, nearly half of whom surrendered as ISIS supporters, including some 5,000 fighters, according to the SDF. ISIS released this image of fighters firing their weapons from inside Baghouz
As they make their final stand, the IS militants have issued a string of statements this month claiming to have inflicted heavy losses on the SDF.
In an audio clip posted online on Monday, ISIS spokesman Abu Hassan al-Muhajer issued his first message in six months, calling for revenge attacks by Muslims in Western countries in retaliation for the shooting attack on two New Zealand mosques that killed 50 people.
He also ridiculed U.S. declarations of the defeat of the Islamic State group, calling the claim of victory a 'hallucination.'
But SDF fighters celebrated as if the final collapse were imminent. At the SDF outpost in Baghouz, a commander danced with his soldiers. Fighters said remaining IS militants didn't put up much resistance.
'We fired on them with our rifles and heavy weapons and they didn't shoot back. So we walked into the camp and they didn't shoot at us,' said Orhan Hamad, from the northern province of Hassakeh.
'I tell the martyrs, it wasn't for nothing. With God's permission, we've finished Daesh.'  
Flashpoint: ISIS has released footage it claims show fighters firing their weapons during clashes with U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Baghouz
Flashpoint: ISIS has released footage it claims show fighters firing their weapons during clashes with U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Baghouz
Horrifying moment ISIS suicide bomber kills four Americans
Terrifying video showed the moment an ISIS suicide bomber killed two US soldiers and two American civilians in a horrific attack in Syria in January
Terrifying video showed the moment an ISIS suicide bomber killed two US soldiers and two American civilians in a horrific attack in Syria in January
The Americans were killed in a suicide bombing in January in the town of Manbij that was claimed by ISIS
The Americans were killed in a suicide bombing in January in the town of Manbij that was claimed by ISIS 

Source: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6830635/US-backed-forces-sweep-ISIS-outpost-landmines-hidden-militants.html

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