US-backed hunters capture the largest surviving ISIS city in Syria after heavy fighting
- US-backed militia took one of the last strongholds of ISIS, Hajin, in southeastern Syria
- Photos on social media showed the aftermath and 900 jihadists were killed
- Donald Trump said that this week's air strikes are a very big job on ISIS & # 39; had done
- The news comes after ISIS has assumed responsibility for the shooting in Strasbourg
Ross Ibbetson for Mailonline
US-backed militias killed at least 900 ISIS fighters in the ferocious capture of the biggest jihadist relics on Friday.
Hajin, east of the Euphrates, was the last big city held by the terrorists before 17,000 troops of the Kurdish-Arab Syrian Democratic Force (SDF) alliance began their operation in September.
The SDF, led by the Kurdish YPG militia, have fought to eradicate ISIS.
According to Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 900 jihadists and 500 SDF fighters were killed in the battle for Hajin.
Mazloum Kobani, commander-in-chief of SDF, said on Thursday that 5,000 ISIS-hunters were still on the last of their ever-shrinking territory, including Hajin, where 900 would have fought until death
A photo of Twitter apparently shows an air raid crashing on the ISIS town of Hajin before it was captured
A map showing southeastern Syria where ISIS was pushed into a narrow corridor east of the Euphrates where one of their last strongholds, Hajin, was taken by American militias on Friday; a bag of desert land in the west still remains under jihadist control
According to Rahman, more than 320 civilians were killed, many of them in air strikes by the US-led coalition.
US President Donald Trump predicted this week that the jihadist group would be completely defeated within a month.
"We have done a very big job on ISIS", he said Tuesday. & # 39; There is very little left in that part of the world. And within a further 30 days, none of them are left. & # 39;
According to another Twitter user this was the aftermath of US-led bombing in Hajin
Western and other officials have repeatedly announced deadlines for a final victory over IS, but the group appears to be resilient.
The pressure to regain Hajin was delayed by Turkish threats on the Kurdish core area further north and deadly counterattacks by those hard jihadists who took a bloody last position.
"ISIS anticipated defeat on the battlefield and lost the caliphate and prepared accordingly," said Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert at Georgetown University in Washington.
In addition to what is left of the bag at Hajin in the Euphrates, IS IS is present in the vast Badia desert in Syria, a front that is managed by Russian troops.
What remains of the jihadist group also has sleep cells in Iraq and Syria that regularly carry out attacks.
SDF supreme commander Mazloum Kobani said Thursday that at least 5,000 IS-fighters are in their last Syrian territory including Hajin and that they have decided to fight to death.
This includes about 2,000 foreign fighters, mostly Arabs and Europeans, along with their families.
Donald Trump speaks Tuesday; he said: & # 39; We have done a very big job on ISIS & # 39; and claimed that they would be completely diverted within the next 30 days
Kobani also said that it was possible that Islamic state leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was in East Syria, but the SDF was not sure because he often disappears.
The loss of Hajin came hours after IS & # 39; s propaganda agency Amaq assumed responsibility for a shooting on the Christmas market in the French city of Strasbourg.
The Amaq statement was posted just after the shooter Cherif Chekatt was shot by the police, but carried the characteristics of an opportunistic claim of the fighting jihadist group.
The Islamic State last year was driven from almost the entire territory it once held in Syria in separate campaigns conducted by the US-backed SDF on the one hand and the Syrian government backed by Russia on the other.