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Nation & World

US backed Syrian fighters clears area retaken from IS

BEIRUT (AP) – U.S.-backed Syrian fighters cleared explosives in the last area retaken from the Islamic State group on Sunday and arrested a number of militants hiding in tunnels, a day after declaring military victory and the end of the extremists’ self-styled caliphate.

The U.S.-led coalition said the clearing operations will continue until the area is secure.

A spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, who goes by the nom de guerre Mervan The Brave, said Baghouz village where the militants made their final stand is “full of all kinds of explosives.” He said SDF forces have detonated land mines and suicide belts left behind by the militants.

The Kurdish Hawar News Agency reported that during the combing SDF forces arrested a number of militants found hiding in combat tunnels. Mervan The Brave confirmed the reports but had no further details.

Other activist groups monitoring the area reported limited clashes between remaining militants and SDF fighters.

The victory announced in Baghouz on Saturday marks the end of a devastating 5-year campaign by an array of forces to retake territories held by IS in Syria and Iraq.

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