BAGHOUZ, Syria – Kurdish-led forces pronounced the death of the Islamic State group's nearly five-year-old "caliphate" Saturday, March 23, after flushing out diehard jihadists from their very last bastion in eastern Syria.
Fighters of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces raised their yellow flag in Baghouz, the remote riverside village where diehard jihadists of a variety of nationalities made a desperate, dramatic last stand.
The SDF's victory capped a painstaking six-month operation and will go down as a symbolic date in a war that changed the face of the region and spurred a spate of global terror attacks.
"Syrian Democratic Forces declare total elimination of so-called caliphate and 100 percent territorial defeat of ISIS," spokesman Mustefa Bali said in a statement, using another acronym for IS.
Here are photos of that dramatic day:
(Photo by Ronahi TV/AFP
Photo by Delil Souleiman/AFP
Photo by Giuseppe Cacace/ AFP
Photo by Giuseppe Cacace/AFP
Photo by Omar Haj Kadour/AFP