By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
If there was ever a “nation” in the ordinary meaning comprising the Islamic State it is unquestionably moribund. The area reportedly controlled by the terrorist organization remains for the time down to one square kilometer, according to some reports less than six hundred meters square in Baghuz.
What actually has so far saved the jihadists from annihilation was that they interspersed themselves among civilian human-shields while Kurdish forces and allies exercise pause to protect the innocent. Thus remains the glory of the Caliphate, hiding among women and children to save itself.
Kurdish Commanding General Chiya Firat announced, “In a very short time, not longer than a few days, we will officially announce the end of IS’s existence.”
Since the onslaught of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) incursion to route the last remaining contiguous jihadist forces in Northern and Eastern Syria beginning February tenth, the Kurds discovered unexpected levels of civilians held by ISIS in the remaining occupied villages. Earlier last week escaping jihadists attempted to instill themselves among fleeing civilians, some going so far as to dress as women. Others tried a more open approach attempting to flee in open land only to be picked off one by one by US and Syrian Arab Army forces. Some did manage to escape and reconstituted themselves to perform IED attacks in a few towns in greater Syria.
Kurdish and US forces discovered ISIS excavated numerous tunnels to move its fighters but recently these tunnels serve a shelters and another means to hold civilians as hostages. A common and credible claim made by civilians who did manage somehow to escape was that jihadists have resorted to murdering civilians to frighten them into remaining as human-shields.
Clearly, the Caliphate verges on defeat but the great tragedy will be difficult for most to accept. We’re going to witness a massacre of many civilians of all kinds at the hands of the ultimate jihadists. A few ISIS fighters will come to some form of self-preservation and surrender but what will become of them?
The Kurds have openly complained for months, much more so since President Trump announced an abrupt withdrawal from Syria, that Western nations have stalled at repatriating their jihadist citizens captured by the SDF and YPG/YPJ. Many hundreds of unlawful combatant Europeans remain in prison. Their governments do not want them but just as equally seem to not know what to do after repatriation. The probability remains high that a great number will return to jihadist tendencies and thinking and with dozens of reported ISIS sleeper cells in several other nations the legacy of the soon-to-be-former Caliphate will remain a thorn in humanity.
I frankly do not see the Syrian population, especially in the Kurdish areas, having any nostalgia or sympathy for the jihadist cause in lands suffering the terroristic reign of ISIS. The terrorists brutalized the populous to such a horrific degree there will be no return to that form of “government”. There were several reports of Syrians converting to Christianity when these individuals experienced the ISIS form of Islam.
The fact that the Caliphate is moribund gives humanity something to celebrate. We continue to owe the Kurds a debt of gratitude for their instrumentality and defeating this evil. They certainly paid the highest price.
By Darren Smith
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