Death squads roam in the ruins of the caliphate: A gripping dispatch from the ‘last stand’ of ISIS and a chilling warning about their resurgence

By Ian Birrell In Qamishli, Syria |

Civilians fleeing the Islamic State’s group embattled holdout of Baghouz walk in a field on February 13, 2019 during an operation by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Force

The civilians able to escape have fled. Now there are just an estimated 500 fighters, many of them foreigners, making the last stand of the Islamic State’s ‘caliphate’ in a remote Syrian hamlet near the Iraqi border. They include some of the group’s most battle-hardened veterans, many wearing suicide vests and using civilians for human shields as they attempt to resist the surrounding forces using tunnels drilled through the walls of houses in Baghouz.

Once these feared jihadis ruled eight million people in an area the size of Britain, relying on savagery to impose their medieval creed, and social media to woo recruits from Britain and around the globe.

But they have been pushed back into a fast-shrinking 840 square yards pocket beside the Euphrates River – and within days, perhaps hours, Islamic State will be declared dead after five bloodstained years of carnage, chaos and fear.

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About Cholo Brooks 13524 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.