In the end the “caliphate” was very little additional than a sprawling expanse of rubble and mangled autos, strewn with the corpses of ISIS fighters.
But it was not the closing struggle. We were wrong.
Nonetheless just days soon after the Turkish army and its Syrian allies invaded northeastern Syria previous 7 days, hundreds have escaped, and as the offensive proceeds and the SDF comes underneath ever better force, far more will likely split out of captivity.
Few of the ISIS females or the fighters we interviewed conceded defeat.
Omar, a Palestinian refugee who grew up in Syria, instructed me: “Possibly the People rule the environment these days, but God Almighty promised the Muslims that, in the finish, the entire world will be dominated by Islam.”
It was, they insisted, a momentary setback. ISIS, they vowed, would return.
And they were possibly suitable.
ISIS fighters on the unfastened
In September, ISIS chief Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi urged his followers in an audio message to breach the partitions of the prisons and the camps and totally free their brethren. And so it has come to pass. As Turkey presses its offensive, the SDF will be compelled to pull its adult males and girls away from guarding the prisons and camps and deliver them to the front strains.
And assistance is close by.
Pentagon officials have reported for months now that thousands of ISIS fighters and sympathizers are on the unfastened throughout Syria and Iraq. They carry out standard strike-and-operate assaults. They are down, but not out.
ISIS has lengthy excelled at exploiting ability vacuums, and now just one is opening up.
The war versus ISIS, joined by then-US President Barack Obama and carried on by his successor President Donald Trump, was all for naught.
We noticed, as the struggle for Baghouz raged, US, British and French unique forces manning artillery and mortar positions about the city as US-led anti-ISIS coalition warplanes strike targets on the ground. We noticed US, British and French intelligence officers screening and interrogating all people who left Baghouz.
And now, in a lot less than a week, all that was accomplished, and sacrificed, all the lives and treasure expended, has arrive undone.
Turkish forces, along with their Syrian allies, are pummeling the SDF, and now the Syrian Military is entering the fray following the SDF lower a offer with Damascus. The US states it will undertake a “deliberate withdrawal from northeast Syria” since, in the words and phrases of US Defense Secretary Mark Esper, American forces are “likely caught involving two opposing, advancing armies and it truly is a extremely untenable predicament.”
So the US is cutting and managing, abandoning these who fought facet-by-aspect with them to defeat ISIS after and for all — or so we imagined. Due to the fact very last December President Trump has been in an dreadful hurry to pull US forces out of Syria, seemingly indifferent to the penalties.
And, of training course, the phrase “deliberate withdrawal” is government-converse for a thing substantially less difficult: betrayal and retreat.
This tale has been current.