ISIS caliphate gone, but group remains a threat

Left: The Syrian Democratic Forces hoisted their yellow flag atop a bullet-riddled building in the Syrian village of Baghuz yesterday, proclaiming the "total elimination" of ISIS' so-called caliphate. Below: Smoke rising over Baghuz, which was litter
Above: The Syrian Democratic Forces hoisted their yellow flag atop a bullet-riddled building in the Syrian village of Baghuz yesterday, proclaiming the "total elimination" of ISIS' so-called caliphate.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

US-backed forces captured the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria's (ISIS) last shred of territory in eastern Syria yesterday, ending the group's self-proclaimed caliphate after years of fighting.

Though the announcement marked a landmark victory, ISIS remains a potent threat. The militants switched gears as defeat loomed, seeding sleeper cells across former strongholds as they prepared a new insurgency.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 24, 2019, with the headline 'ISIS caliphate gone, but group remains a threat'. Print Edition | Subscribe