IS refuses to surrender: Hardcore fighters seem determined to die

Monday 11th March 2019 22:15 GMT

It has been billed as Islamic State's final stand. The remnants of what was once a so-called "caliphate" spanning Iraq and Syria has been reduced to a slither of land along the Euphrates river.

Above Baghouz, coalition jets prowl through the night skies. Mortar rounds and the crackle of machine gun fire is constant.

The Syrian Democratic Forces say they have given IS fighters enough time to give up and hand themselves over.

Now they will force their defeat.

But even with all this firepower, it is still slow going. This battle could be ended in a matter of hours. Yet, after six weeks of fierce fighting, it continues.

IS is using human shields and several thousand civilians are still believed to be inside Baghouz - along with hostages being held by the terrorist group.

In truth, the rag-tag remains of the Islamic State has little fight left in it here.

Its operatives have been bombed and starved for weeks now and cornered in this kill zone where they have nowhere to run.

This desert wasteland in Eastern Syria is where the cult of IS fled after their strongholds of Raqqa and Mosul fell.

The streets are full of smashed buildings - everything has been destroyed.

IS now exists with its back against the wall - its fighters living underground in tunnels.

During the day, when the fighting stops, a makeshift tent city housing lS families is visible in the distance.

Loyalists of the extremist group move through the shanty on motorbikes.

But how much longer what's left of IS's proto-state can survive is no longer the question - the time of the so-called caliphate is over.

And that is reflected in the atmosphere on the front line.

The Syrian Democratic Forces have almost total control - they know their enemy's defeat is close.

The fight for Baghouz has already been won in everything but name.

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