Kurds launch final push to defeat IS in Syria

Kurds launch final push to defeat IS in Syria

Kurds launch final push to defeat IS in Syria

The U.S. -backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have seized ground from Islamic State in a fierce battle to capture its last enclave in eastern Syria, an SDF official said on Sunday.

The Syrian Democratic Forces spokesman Mustafa Bali tweeted the offensive began on Saturday after more than 20,000 civilians were evacuated from the Isis-held area in the eastern province of Deir el-Zor.

Earlier on Saturday, the Syriac Military Council, which fights under the SDF umbrella, announced they had sent an assault group for the "final operation/attack to defeat ISIS in Baghouz".

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), supported by USA air attacks, have successfully overtaken the terror group, which gained control of large swaths of northeastern Syria in 2014, NPR's Lama Al-Arian reports for our Newscast unit.

On the Iraqi side of the border, French troops were poised to attack, lest any jihadists try to escape across the border they once bulldozed through easily.

"This battle will be sealed in the coming days", he told Agence France-Presse news agency, adding that his men were so close to ISIS fighters as to be practically "face to face".

But you might be forgiven for remaining skeptical with a "believe it when I see it" approach, as President Trump first announced a "rapid withdrawal" on December 19 which quickly became "no timeline" in the weeks that followed - though it depended on who in the administration or Pentagon was asked - with many determined to quash Trump's prior campaign promises of "bring our boys home".

Two months later, they took Hajin, which was the last town of note still under IS control and left the jihadists fighting over a few scattered hamlets in the Euphrates Valley.

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The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a UK-based war monitor, said coalition planes and artillery bombarded ISIL positions.

A top US general said last week ISIL would pose an enduring threat following the USA withdrawal, as it still has leaders, fighters, facilitators and resources.

U.S. President Donald Trump predicted Wednesday that IS will have lost all of its territory by next week.

Trump wants to withdraw USA troops from Syria by the end of April, a plan that has alarmed European allies who fear Islamic State would resurface in Syria in the absence of a credible peace plan to end the country's civil war.

"The so-called Islamic State has been luckily driven out of its territory but this unfortunately doesn't mean that Islamic State has disappeared", Merkel said.

The jihadists maintain sleeper cells along the border with Iraq, as well as in cities they once ruled, and have carried out periodic hit-and-run attacks.

The militants have burrowed beneath the town, building a network of tunnels that allow them to shift from house to house undetected. The attack killed two people.

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