Inside Story

Is ISIL really defeated?

US-backed Kurdish fighters capture ISIL’s final stronghold in Syria.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) once controlled territory in Syria and Iraq equivalent to the size of Great Britain, where it imposed its version of Islamic rule on millions of people. 

The group’s fighters were defeated in Iraq two years ago and it appears their dream of a so-called caliphate in Syria is over too.

US-backed fighters declared what they called the “100 percent territorial defeat” of ISIL on Saturday, after winning the battle for Baghouz.

Following weeks of intense fighting, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces raised their flag over the town, which had been the final ISIL-controlled area in Syria. 

However, analysts are warning that ISIL’s ideology remains strong despite the loss of territory.

Has the group really been defeated?

Presenter: Nick Clark


Marwan Kabalan – head of policy analysis, Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies

Judit Neurink – journalist and author of The War of ISIS: On the Road to the Caliphate

Mia Bloom – professor, Georgia State University and author of Small Arms: Children and Terrorism