The battle for Baghouz, including the encampment, a collection of tents covering foxholes and underground tunnels‚ has dragged on for weeks amid an unexpected exodus of civilians from the area.

SDF militants in the village of Baghouz, Syria, March 10, 2019.
SDF militants in the village of Baghouz, Syria, March 10, 2019. (Rodi Said / Reuters)

US-backed militants fighting Daesh in Syria on Tuesday announced they have taken control of a riverside encampment in an eastern Syrian village where the terror group has been besieged for months, refusing to surrender.

The milestone does not signify the final defeat of Daesh in the village of Baghouz. Clashes were continuing elsewhere in the village as some Daesh militants were still fighting, according to observers.

According to the YPG-dominated US-backed SDF, hundreds of wounded and sick militants were captured and have been taken to military hospitals for treatment.

The YPG is the Syrian wing of the PKK, recognised as a terrorist group by the US, Turkey and the EU. US support for the SDF has strained ties with NATO ally Turkey.

End of Daesh in Syria

Baghouz, the Daesh-held village is the last pocket of territory in Syria controlled by the terror group, which once held a vast area of Syria and Iraq, calling it a caliphate.

The capture of Baghouz would mark the end of the devastating four-year campaign to end Daesh's hold on any kind of territory, although it maintains a scattered presence and sleeper cells in both countries.

The battle for Baghouz, including the encampment, a collection of tents covering foxholes and underground tunnels, has dragged on for weeks amid an unexpected exodus of civilians from the area.

The sheer number of people who have emerged, nearly 30,000 since early January according to observers, has taken the SDF by surprise. Most have been women and children whose existence in a labyrinth of underground caves and tunnels was unknown to the US-backed militants.

The SDF have stopped speculating when the battle may finally be over. The Daesh remnants have been putting up a desperate fight against SDF advances.

Source: AP