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Islamic State Driven From Last Village In Syria

A fighter from Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) checks a man near the village of Baghouz on February 22.

A U.S.-backed Syrian force says it has liberated the last area held by the Islamic State group in Syria.

Mustafa Bali, a spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), tweeted on March 23 that the eastern Syrian village of Baghouz was “free,” declaring victory over the extremists and the end of their self-declared caliphate.

The SDF has been battling to capture Baghouz at the Iraqi border for weeks.

Bali says the so-called caliphate, which once sprawled across much of Syria and neighboring Iraq, is gone, and pledged to continue the fight against remnants of the extremist group until they are completely eradicated.

The announcement appears to mark the end of a 4 ½ campaign by multiple forces against the extremist group, which at one time controlled an area the size of the United Kingdom.

The group no longer controls any territory in Syria or Iraq, but continues to carry out attacks in both countries. It also has affiliates in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters