The US-led coalition is making up for lost time in the fight to drive Isis out of Baghouz, its last stronghold

There is a flash of light in the dark town as an airstrike hits an Islamic State weapons depot. A few seconds later, a ball of flame engulfs the entire neighbourhood. The sonic boom sends shockwaves through Baghouz, shaking the ground kilometres away and for a second everything and everyone is stunned into silence. Then the artillery fire starts up again.

Five years after Isis swept across Syria and Iraq, all that remains of a “caliphate” – that at its peak stretched across two countries and controlled 10 million people – is a handful of streets in a bend of the Euphrates river running through the desert town which will be retaken in the next few days.

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Read More The caliphate is a hellscape of smoke and fire – Isis has nowhere left to go

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