HOEGER NAJJAR/ DEIR EZ-ZOR
In the last phase of al-Jazeera Tempest campaign, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) launched the final battle to end IS' occupation in al-Bagouz village on 9 February, thus the so-called "Caliphate State" is being completely eliminated geographically in north Syria.
IS mercenaries are now besieged in al- Bagouz Faqani which affiliated to al-Sousse district of Deir ez-Zor countryside. Its population reached 10,689 in 2004 according to the statistics of the Statistics Central Bureau, but with the defeat of IS mercenaries in many areas of north Syria, thousands of mercenaries have fled to this area.
Al-Bagouz is an important strategic site. It is located close to the Iraqi-Syrian border, or more correctly, is divided into two sections within the Syrian territory and the Iraqi territory, and affiliated to al-Anbar. This area was an important passage for IS mercenaries during the control of most Syrian cities. They get the military and logistical supplies from there, and distributed to all areas under its control inside Syria.
SDF managed to liberate thousands of civilians from the mercenaries' clutches through the safe corridors they opened after the declaration of the campaign, where after delivering the civilians to the safe areas and taking the necessary measures, they will be transferred to al-Holl camp in al-Hasakah canton.
In the last few days, the military operations have diminished as the mercenaries use the civilians as human shields, in addition to planting a large number of mines and the presence of tunnels.
IS are planting a huge number of mines, and they dug many tunnels to hide and launch suicide attacks from time to time after they took civilians as human shields who were prevented from going out. Gradually liberating the civilians were reduced after IS tightened the residents in one side, and due to the rejection of the mercenaries' families themselves to leave.
Dozens of IS mercenaries of different nationalities, Iraqi and other Arab countries surrendered to the Syrian Democratic Forces.
SDF are searching for tunnels as they are dealt with in many ways, including closure or destruction.
Some media websites reported that SDF entered into a truce with IS after the demand of IS to go out towards Idlib or Turkey, but what is happening on the ground shows the opposite, falsifying the claims of those outlets.
The SDF explained their total rejection of what IS called for. They continued their fight against them. The military commander, Adnan Afrin, noted that their campaign to defeat IS continues, but what has been stopped is the random firing due to the presence of a large number of civilians still trapped by IS, in addition to IS' wearing the civilian clothes.
A military commander in Deir ez-Zor said that women and children of IS mercenaries' families were hiding underground cellars and in tunnels dug by the mercenaries in the densely populated area.
SDF control all the entrances and exits of al-Bagouz village from three sides, while the fourth or the southern side there is the Euphrates River. During the press conference held in al-Omar oil field, the commander of al-Jazeera Tempest campaign, Çiya Furat, said that the mercenaries are trapped in 600 to 700 meters Square, and some commanders noted that the mercenaries are holding about two thousand civilians.
The area where IS mercenaries are holed up is shrinking day after day, but what is apparent is that the so-called "Caliphate State" will be removed in the next few days. This is not an end to the SDF task because there are a large number of sleeper cells in the region, the thing which needs international and internal efforts to eliminate them.