Final Islamic State Stronghold in Syria Falls

ISIL Will Be Eliminated Tonight! Trump Declares. AFP

ISIL Will Be Eliminated Tonight! Trump Declares. AFP

Islamic state members walk in the last besieged neighborhood in the village of Baghouz, Deir Al Zor province, Syria, on February 18, 2019.

US President Donald Trump said Wednesday that the Islamic State's last bastion in Syria will be "gone" by the end of the day.

Columns of black smoke rise from the last small piece of territory held by ISIS terrorists as USA backed fighters pound the area with artillery fire and occasional airstrikes, as seen from outside Baghouz, Syria, on March 3, 2019. "In fact, there's actually a tiny spot which will be gone by tonight", he said.

SDF commanders like Adnan Afrin say the full territorial victory they've spent years fighting for is finally now in sight: "this sprawling organization that stunned the world has crumbled and is close to being defeated. When I took it over, it was a mess", Trump said.

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US -backed forces are sweeping through the rubble in what is left of the Islamic State's final enclave in northeastern Syria, edging closer to declaring victory over the terror group's self-declared caliphate.

Trump later showed off the maps on his Twitter handle comparing the territory ISIS seized before his election in 2016, and the small portion the terrorist group now occupied.

The jihadists have been putting up a desperate fight, their notorious propaganda machine working even on the brink of collapse.

The U.S. leader declares that by the end of Thursday, "the mission will be complete".

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In all, upward of 30,000 civilians, mostly family members of IS fighters, have fled Baghuz since the offensive began, 5,000 in just the past week.

Associated Press journalists saw SDF soldiers loading women and children into trailer trucks on the hilltop over Baghouz - a sign that evacuations were still underway Wednesday. Over past weeks they have been flowing out, exhausted, hungry and often wounded.

FILE - Smoke rises from the last besieged neighborhood in the village of Baghuz, Deir el-Zour province, Syria, March 18, 2019.

The AP reported on Tuesday U.S. -backed Syrian forces took control of an ISIS encampment after hundreds of fighters surrendered overnight.

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