Photos: Tense standoff signals the end of Islamic State in Syria

By the village of Baghouz in eastern Syria -- the last Islamic State-held territory in the war-ravaged country -- US-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are engaging in a tense standoff with the IS militants. This is the endgame for the militant group that since 2014 controlled a vast stretch of territory across Syria and Iraq and ruled for years, aspiring to create an enduring and expanding jihadi state. The residents of the village are slowly being evacuated by the forces as well.

UPDATED ON FEB 21, 2019 02:53 PM IST 12 Photos
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US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters walk in a building as fight against Islamic State militants continue in the village of Baghouz, Syria. The Islamic State group has been reduced from its self-proclaimed caliphate that once spread across much of Syria and Iraq at its height in 2014 to a speck of land on the countries' shared border. (Felipe Dana / AP)

US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters walk in a building as fight against Islamic State militants continue in the village of Baghouz, Syria. The Islamic State group has been reduced from its self-proclaimed caliphate that once spread across much of Syria and Iraq at its height in 2014 to a speck of land on the countries' shared border. (Felipe Dana / AP)

UPDATED ON FEB 21, 2019 02:53 PM IST
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A Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighter stands atop a building used as a temporary base near the last land still held by Islamic State militants in Baghouz, Syria. This is the last speck of land held by the Islamic State group — a patch along the Euphrates River in eastern Syria where an estimated 300 militants are mixed in with hundreds of civilians, refusing to surrender and trying to negotiate an exit with the SDF surrounding them. (Felipe Dana / AP)

A Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighter stands atop a building used as a temporary base near the last land still held by Islamic State militants in Baghouz, Syria. This is the last speck of land held by the Islamic State group — a patch along the Euphrates River in eastern Syria where an estimated 300 militants are mixed in with hundreds of civilians, refusing to surrender and trying to negotiate an exit with the SDF surrounding them. (Felipe Dana / AP)

UPDATED ON FEB 21, 2019 02:53 PM IST
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SDF fighters talk on a radio in a rooftop position as fight against Islamic State militants continues. The SDF can’t assault the site or call in airstrikes because of the civilians. The fighters have seen the militants moving civilians around at gunpoint as protection. (Felipe Dana / AP)

SDF fighters talk on a radio in a rooftop position as fight against Islamic State militants continues. The SDF can’t assault the site or call in airstrikes because of the civilians. The fighters have seen the militants moving civilians around at gunpoint as protection. (Felipe Dana / AP)

UPDATED ON FEB 21, 2019 02:53 PM IST
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A Humvee drives in a village recently retaken from Islamic State militants by US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) near Baghouz, Syria. Islamic State militants are preventing more than 1,000 civilians from leaving a tiny area still held by the extremist group in a village in eastern Syria, a spokesman for the US-backed Syrian militia fighting the group said. (Felipe Dana / AP)

A Humvee drives in a village recently retaken from Islamic State militants by US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) near Baghouz, Syria. Islamic State militants are preventing more than 1,000 civilians from leaving a tiny area still held by the extremist group in a village in eastern Syria, a spokesman for the US-backed Syrian militia fighting the group said. (Felipe Dana / AP)

UPDATED ON FEB 21, 2019 02:53 PM IST
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A man selling chicken sits in an area recently retaken by the SDF from Islamic State militants in Hajin, Syria. The tense standoff by the village of Baghouz is the endgame for the militant group that since 2014 controlled a vast stretch of territory across Syria and Iraq — at one point nearly from Aleppo to Baghdad — and ruled for years, aspiring to create an enduring and expanding jihadi state. (Felipe Dana / AP)

A man selling chicken sits in an area recently retaken by the SDF from Islamic State militants in Hajin, Syria. The tense standoff by the village of Baghouz is the endgame for the militant group that since 2014 controlled a vast stretch of territory across Syria and Iraq — at one point nearly from Aleppo to Baghdad — and ruled for years, aspiring to create an enduring and expanding jihadi state. (Felipe Dana / AP)

UPDATED ON FEB 21, 2019 02:53 PM IST
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An AK-47 rifle, belonging to an SDF fighter, rests on a rock on a hill in the desert outside the village of Baghouz. Activists said a truce in place has been extended for five days as of Sunday. A person familiar with ongoing deliberations said the group has asked for an exit through a corridor to the rebel-held northwestern province of Idlib and demand to be allowed to leave along with the civilians. (Felipe Dana / AP)

An AK-47 rifle, belonging to an SDF fighter, rests on a rock on a hill in the desert outside the village of Baghouz. Activists said a truce in place has been extended for five days as of Sunday. A person familiar with ongoing deliberations said the group has asked for an exit through a corridor to the rebel-held northwestern province of Idlib and demand to be allowed to leave along with the civilians. (Felipe Dana / AP)

UPDATED ON FEB 21, 2019 02:53 PM IST
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SDF fighters eat in a building as the fight against Islamic State militants continues. The SDF appears to be aiming to wait the militants out. “They don’t have supplies in the area they are in that would last for a week or more,” said Baran, the commander. (Felipe Dana / AP)

SDF fighters eat in a building as the fight against Islamic State militants continues. The SDF appears to be aiming to wait the militants out. “They don’t have supplies in the area they are in that would last for a week or more,” said Baran, the commander. (Felipe Dana / AP)

UPDATED ON FEB 21, 2019 02:53 PM IST
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Damaged cars sit in an area recently retaken by SDF from Islamic State militants in Susah. The SDF and the U.S.-led coalition have been fighting IS in the surrounding region since September. In recent years, they and other forces have steadily driven IS from nearly all the territory it once controlled, in battles that have killed tens of thousands of people and left entire towns and neighbourhoods in ruins. (Felipe Dana / AP)

Damaged cars sit in an area recently retaken by SDF from Islamic State militants in Susah. The SDF and the U.S.-led coalition have been fighting IS in the surrounding region since September. In recent years, they and other forces have steadily driven IS from nearly all the territory it once controlled, in battles that have killed tens of thousands of people and left entire towns and neighbourhoods in ruins. (Felipe Dana / AP)

UPDATED ON FEB 21, 2019 02:53 PM IST
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An SDF fighter enters a building as fight against Islamic State militants continues. Villages leading to Baghouz lie mostly empty and destroyed, ghost towns where the only sign of life is wild grass that grew after weeks of rare heavy rain. (Felipe Dana / AP)

An SDF fighter enters a building as fight against Islamic State militants continues. Villages leading to Baghouz lie mostly empty and destroyed, ghost towns where the only sign of life is wild grass that grew after weeks of rare heavy rain. (Felipe Dana / AP)

UPDATED ON FEB 21, 2019 02:53 PM IST
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A girl walks in an area recently retaken by the SDF from Islamic State militants in Hajin. At least 62 people have died in recent weeks, mainly from exhaustion and malnutrition, after making their way out of militant-held territory, the International Rescue Committee said. Spokesman Paul Donohoe said two-thirds were children under the age of one. He said they either died along the way or soon after arriving at a camp for the displaced. (Felipe Dana / AP)

A girl walks in an area recently retaken by the SDF from Islamic State militants in Hajin. At least 62 people have died in recent weeks, mainly from exhaustion and malnutrition, after making their way out of militant-held territory, the International Rescue Committee said. Spokesman Paul Donohoe said two-thirds were children under the age of one. He said they either died along the way or soon after arriving at a camp for the displaced. (Felipe Dana / AP)

UPDATED ON FEB 21, 2019 02:53 PM IST
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The moon rises behind SDF fighters at a defence post in the desert near the last land still held by Islamic State militants outside Baghouz. Over 30,000 people who left the last IS-held areas have arrived at the al-Hol camp in Syria’s northern Hassakeh province in the last few weeks, raising the overall population of the camp to almost 42,000. (Felipe Dana / AP)

The moon rises behind SDF fighters at a defence post in the desert near the last land still held by Islamic State militants outside Baghouz. Over 30,000 people who left the last IS-held areas have arrived at the al-Hol camp in Syria’s northern Hassakeh province in the last few weeks, raising the overall population of the camp to almost 42,000. (Felipe Dana / AP)

UPDATED ON FEB 21, 2019 02:53 PM IST
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An SDF fighter watches as a convoy evacuating hundreds of men, women and children drives out of the last territory held by Islamic State militants in Baghouz. (Felipe Dana / AP)

An SDF fighter watches as a convoy evacuating hundreds of men, women and children drives out of the last territory held by Islamic State militants in Baghouz. (Felipe Dana / AP)

UPDATED ON FEB 21, 2019 02:53 PM IST
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