In recent months, a U.S.-backed coalition of Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has been attacking and closing in on the last remaining ISIS holdout, in eastern Syria. What remains of the so-called caliphate that once controlled more than 30,000 square miles in Syria and Iraq can now fit into less than half of one square mile in Baghouz village. Weeks of air strikes and bombardment have driven out many fighters, as well as thousands of civilians, who are turning themselves over to SDF soldiers. The advance was paused today while negotiations took place for the release of more civilians, but the last few ISIS jihadists remain boxed in, with few options left.
The Atlantic magazine publishes photos of the last ISIS stronghold in Baghouz.
1. A fighter with the U.S.-backed SDF keeps watch in the Baghouz area on February 12, 2019, during an operation to expel hundreds of ISIS jihadists from the region.
2. SDF fighters prepare equipment at a base on February 16, 2019, in As Susah, Syria. Civilians have begun returning to some small towns close to Baghouz that were recently liberated by the U.S.-led coalition and the SDF.
3. A military plane with the U.S.-backed coalition against the Islamic State releases a bomb over the embattled village of Baghouz on February 19, 2019.
4. Men believed to be Islamic State fighters and their families walk in a field as they leave the embattled ISIS holdout of Baghouz on February 13, 2019.
5. An SDF fighter keeps watch near veiled women standing on a field after they fled from the Baghouz area on February 12, 2019.
6. An alleged ISIS fighter who fled from Baghouz sits blindfolded in the back of a pickup truck after he was taken into custody by SDF forces on January 30, 2019.
7. Alleged ISIS fighters who fled from Baghouz sit blindfolded in the back of a pickup truck after they were taken into custody by SDF forces on January 30, 2019.
8. A convoy of trucks transporting civilians fleeing the battered ISIS-held village of Baghouz on February 11, 2019.
9. Civilians gather at an SDF outpost near Baghouz on January 26, 2019, after a dusty trip in the back of several trucks.
10. A wounded girl fleeing from Baghouz stands in a field on February 13, 2019.
11. Civilians fleeing from Baghouz walk in a field on February 13, 2019.
12. Vehicles belonging to the U.S.-led coalition drive down a battle-damaged street in Baghouz on February 17, 2019.
13. An SDF fighter walks down an empty street amid destruction on February 16, 2019, in As Susah, Syria.