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Islamic State 100% defeated in Syria, rebels say

By Sam Howard
Islamic State 100% defeated in Syria, rebels say
U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, take up position near Baghouz in eastern Syria, in February 2019. An SDF spokesman declared the Islamic State 100 percent defeated in Syria on Saturday. File Photo EPA-EFE/Murtaja Lateef

March 23 (UPI) -- The Islamic State terrorist organization has been entirely defeated in Syria, U.S.-backed rebels known as the Syrian Democratic Forces said Saturday.

The SDF announcement came a day after the White House similarly declared the militant group 100 percent defeated in Syria.

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"Syrian Democratic Forces declare total elimination of so-called caliphate and %100 territorial defeat of ISIS," SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali said on Twitter, using an alternative name for the Islamic State. "On this unique day, we commemorate thousands of martyrs whose efforts made the victory possible."

After waiting for thousands to evacuate the area, the SDF began its attack on the Islamic State's last territory, the town of Baghouz, in eastern Syria earlier this month.

CNN reported that the final battle to retake the Islamic State enclave took place on a hill just outside of Baghouz. The last-remaining Islamic State fighters used women and children as human shields, the cable news network reported.

At one point, the Islamic State's territory crossed 34,000 square miles in Iraq and Syria. In December 2017, Iraq declared the Islamic State was "completely defeated and evicted from Iraq."

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