Backed Syrian fighters search tunnels in last IS pocket

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Washington D.C. [USA]: US President Donald Trump claims to have destroyed the "ISIS physical Caliphate" in Syria and Iraq ever since taking office in 2016.

"The caliphate is gone as of tonight", Trump said in a speech at a General Dynamics Corp. factory in Lima, Ohio. "This just came out 20 minutes ago", he said. "It's been painful, and hard - from the day Isis started to this moment.but it's ending now".

Syria's war has killed more than 370,000 people and displaced millions since it began with the repression of anti-government protests in 2011.

"That's the way it goes", he added.

The last five days, Fox News has witnessed the last major offensive up close -- with US -backed SDF forces attacking ISIS from three sides, pushing the fighters back, house to house, then tent to tent, against the Euphrates River.

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) denied a report on Thursday that all of final enclave of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) has been captured. The fighters were taken to security prisons, but the SDF has urged foreign countries to take back their citizens, causing a dilemma for some Western states who see them as a threat.

On Tuesday, the SDF seized control of the encampment held by IS after hundreds of militants surrendered overnight, signaling the group's collapse after months of stiff resistance.

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There was no immediate update from the SDF on Wednesday on the fate of these remaining militants. Less than two weeks ago, Islamic State militants, along with the women and children of their families, began surrendering in the hundreds to US -backed forces.

To put this into perspective, Baghouz was the final patch of a large, populated Islamic State territory, a self-declared "caliphate" that once spanned a third of Iraq and Syria.

Mr Trump, who announced in December the withdrawal of some 2,000 United States troops who had been deployed in Syria, said about 400 of them would remain on the ground "for a period of time".

"Last night, another 2,000 women and children arrived at al-Hol camp in northeast Syria from Baghouz".

The Syrian Democratic Forces recently pushed the last of ISIS terrorists outside the village of Baghuz after intense fighting between the two sides.

Global distribution of ISIS and al-Qaeda in 2018.

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