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NBC crew last IS victim in Syria

March 25, 2019

BAGHOUZ, Syria: A driver-crew working with NBC News reporters in Syria was killed Sunday by an explosive device in eastern Syria, where several media outlets are covering the liberation of the last sliver of territory held by the Islamic State (IS) group.

The driver was believed to be the last victim of the dreaded group before they were formally terminated Saturday noon, reports said.

Noah Oppenheim, president of NBC News, said in a statement that NBC employees escaped unharmed, and expressed “deepest sympathies” to the driver’s family and loved ones.

A U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighter stands on a rooftop overlooking Baghouz, Syria, after the SDF declared the area free of Islamic State militants after months of fighting on Saturday, March 23, 2019. The elimination of the last Islamic State stronghold in Baghouz brings to a close a grueling final battle that stretched across several weeks and saw thousands of people flee the territory and surrender in desperation, and hundreds killed. AP PHOTO

“We are still gathering information from today’s events, and are in touch with the driver’s family to support them however we can,” he said.

Several media outlets are in Syria to cover the military defeat of IS in the small eastern village of Baghouz. The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) declared victory over IS on Saturday after clearing the militants from their last position in the village, following weeks of heavy fighting.

IS left behind booby-traps and explosive devices, and there may be unexploded munitions in the area following US-led airstrikes.

The explosion happened in a house used as a command post by the SDF and a media center for reporters. The SDF was storing munitions inside the building.

The victory announced Saturday marks the end of the extremist group’s self-styled caliphate, which once sprawled across a third of Syria and Iraq. However, unknown numbers of fighters and supporters are believed to have gone underground, and the group continues to carry out insurgent attacks in both countries.


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