February 19, 2019

Civilian shield stalls final liberation by US-backed forces of last IS-held pocket

Featuring Nicholas Heras

Source: Kurdistan 24

Journalist Wladimir Van Wilgenburg

Fighters with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) told Kurdistan 24 reporter Ekrem Salih on Monday that the presence of civilians in a small area of about 600 square meters in the village of Baghouz is hampering its liberation.

Islamic State fighters are now contained to the eastern town of Baghouz, along the Euphrates River, but some militants have refused to surrender and are still trying to launch attacks while hiding among civilians.

Syrian Kurdish top official Aldar Xelil, in an Op-Ed for Ronahi on Saturday, confirmed that the Islamic State, who once controlled large parts of Iraq and Syria, now only hold an area no larger than a square kilometer.

The Islamic State, which according to US officials once had territory over 100,000 square kilometers – the size of the UK – under its control, has now been reduced to a small number of tents.

Read the full article and more in Kurdistan 24.

  • Nicholas Heras

    Fellow, Middle East Security Program

    Nicholas A. Heras is a Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), working in the Middle East Security Program. He is also a Senior Analyst at the Jamestown Found...