Syrian driver working with NBC News crew killed by explosive device at media center

BAGHOUZ, Syria -- A Syrian driver working with NBC News reporters was killed Saturday by an explosive device that went off in a house used as a Syrian Democratic Forces command post and a media center for journalists covering the fighting in Baghouz.

Noah Oppenheim, the president of NBC News, said in a statement that network employees escaped unharmed. He expressed "deepest sympathies" to the driver's family and loved ones.

"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. It was not immediately clear what caused the explosion.



U.S.-backed Syrian fighters cleared explosives in the last area retaken from the Islamic State group on Sunday, a day after declaring military victory over the extremists and the end of their self-styled caliphate.

A spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, who goes by the nom de guerre Mervan The Brave, said Baghouz village where the militants made their final stand is "full of all kinds of explosives." He said SDF forces were clearing the area and have detonated land mines and suicide belts left behind by the militants.

The victory announced in Baghouz on Saturday marks the end of a devastating five-year campaign by an array of forces to retake territories held by IS in Syria and Iraq. At its height, IS controlled a sprawling self-declared caliphate the size of Britain that was home to some 8 million people. The campaign against the group came at a staggering cost, with entire neighborhoods and towns destroyed across a swath of Syria and Iraq.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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