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The last battle: ITV News witnesses last battle against Islamic State in Syria as Kurds are left to mourn their dead

The house we were sleeping in shook as another massive air strike went in.

The whoosh of warplanes stooping on their bombing runs terrified me and we were five miles away.

They were American jets pummelling the last fragment of the monstrous pseudo-nation known as the Islamic State.

Islamic State fighters opened fire from this vehicle before being targeted from the air. Credit: ITV News

At its zenith in 2014 it was the size of Britain.

Now it’s been reduced to something like 10 square miles of south-eastern Syria.

The Americans are on the ground as well.

The Kurds will soon be left to grieve for those killed winning a war. Credit: ITV News

We saw mortar teams operating just behind the frontline.

An unpredictable president talking about imminent withdrawal may have forced the Pentagon to speed up the pace in this the last battle.

Americans serving on the ground will soon be leaving. Credit: ITV News

We should have been sleeping two hours’ drive from the front, but our armoured car got a puncture early on in the journey off the battlefield and we’d been forced to stay with a Kurdish unit five miles back from where the battle was raging.

The air strikes shook the earth where we were.

It’s no wonder civilians have been fleeing the besieged pocket on the banks of the Euphrates River.

Those still living close to the frontline exist in hellish conditions. Credit: ITV News

They get out on foot and are met by Kurdish forces to be taken to refugee camps.

There are no men of fighting age among them.

Hordes of civilian refugees are being transported away. Credit: ITV News

The IS diehards inside the pocket have been told they are trapped and will be given no opportunity to escape.

British Special Forces are among those helping the Kurds, who, with guidance on the ground and bombs from above, have pushed IS back more than 250 miles from the Turkish border.

Kurdish fighters are left to pick up the pieces from the devastated towns and villages. Credit: ITV News/Sean Swan

The campaign began more than four years ago.

Myself, cameraman Sean Swan and our Middle East Editor Lutfi Abu-Aun, have been with them part of the way.

On the day Parliament voted to bomb IS in Syria as well as Iraq we interviewed a Kurdish officer on the frontline.

He said it was the duty of all civilized nations to fight the Islamists. He’s dead.

Empty buildings have been left as shelled relics after several years of fighting. Credit: ITV News/Sean Swan

Not long before its liberation we were in Raqqa, the capital of the caliphate.

We spent an afternoon with a charismatic commander nicknamed Earthquake.

He described how he and all his unit wanted revenge for what IS had done to them and their families.

Earthquake and most of his men are dead.

The aftermath of an improvised explosive device. Credit: ITV News/Sean Swan

On Saturday we attended the funeral of yet another Kurdish fighter.

His interment brought to 714 the number of soldiers – women as well as men – buried in the graveyard in the town of Qamishli since 2012 and the start of the war against Islamic fanaticism.

Mourners at the funeral of a Kurdish fighter. Credit: ITV News

There are 11 other such cemeteries in the Kurdish region of Syria.

The campaign against IS has been a bloody sacrifice.

The Kurds hoped the West would be grateful and indebted to them.

These Kurdish forces are celebratory but they will be left to count their enormous losses. Credit: ITV News

Instead the Americans are poised to leave and no doubt we and the French will follow.

The Kurds will be left to grieve for those killed winning this war and to wonder when the next war will begin.