Tunnels, Foreign Fighters, Suicide Bombers Complicate Baghouz Battle
Fighters recall the last moments of the battle that lasted for weeks after the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced last Saturday seizing ISIS' last bastion in Baghouz following six months of a wide attack that started in Sep. in 2018 in Deir Ezzor.
Judy Kubani, a Kurdish fighter from Ayn al-Arab (Kobani) along the border with Turkey, said that the battle in Baghouz was different than the rest because those who remained were foreigners having a wide experience in fighting, and they took shelter in tunnels.
Kubani added that SDF, backed by the US-led international coalition, was continuously slowing down the battle to avoid the loss of civilians used as human shield by ISIS. He stressed that they had to be cautious because hundreds of civilians were obliged to stay with the group.
Raha, from Women's Protection Units, recounted how she and her fellows were involved in a six-hour battle.
“They launched a sudden attack and I was in an advanced point. We were besieged. My fellow was shot, we helped her but she bled too much. We decided to fight until the end. After hours, our fellows succeeded in defying the attack.”
According to Mizer, 26 from Raqqa, three of his brothers who are SDF members fought ISIS until the end. The weather and the rainfall slowed down the conclusion of the battle, he added.
Gandar, 22 from Hasakah, has videos and photos of the group. He was watching a video of ISIS committing a suicide attack through an armored jeep when he said: “I was in that battle, and when this jeep arrived we knew it was armored. It was targeted by a land missile before it reached us and it burst before reaching us. The suicide bomber riding it got burnt.”