Heavy Clashes Reported In 'Final Battle' Against IS In Syria

Heavy Clashes Reported In 'Final Battle' Against IS In Syria

Heavy Clashes Reported In 'Final Battle' Against IS In Syria

"After 10 days of evacuating more than 20,000 civilians ... the battle was launched tonight" to wipe out the last remnants of the organization, it said. "We have launched an assault and the fighters are advancing", an SDF field commander told AFP Sunday.

One big question has been whether some USA forces in Syria might move to neighboring Iraq, where the United States has more than 5,000 troops helping Baghdad fight Islamic State and prevent the group's resurgence.

The enclave is close to the Iraqi border and comprises two villages.

SDF forces, spearheaded by the Kurdish YPG militia, have been forced to advance cautiously due to mines placed by ISIS fighters.

The aim of the Manbij deal is to ensure security and stability in the province by eliminating YPG terrorists who now control the region in northern Syria and ultimately handing the administration of the province to a body consisting of local people.

"The clashes are ferocious naturally because the terrorist group is defending its last stronghold".

While the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) have been a key USA ally in the fight against ISIL, Turkey views them as "terrorists".

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

A total of three civilians were killed Saturday by a US -led airstrike on the Islamic State (IS)-held area in eastern Syria, state news agency SANA reported.

Trump said in December he was pulling all 2,000 US troops out of Syria, saying the battle against Islamic State there was nearly won.

"It should be formally announced some time, probably next week, that we will have 100% of the caliphate", Trump told representatives of the 79-member coalition fighting Isis.

"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. But activists and residents say IS still has sleeper cells in Syria and Iraq, and is laying the groundwork for an insurgency. Human Rights Watch knows of at least five foreign detainees who were handed to Iraq's Counter Terrorism Service by USA forces after being captured in Syria, according to the group's Iraq researcher Belkis Wille.

Bali said 400 to 600 jihadists were estimated to be holed up in the enclave, including foreigners and other hardened fighters.

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

The conflict has killed more than 360,000 people and displaced millions since starting in 2011 with a brutal crackdown on anti-government protests.

Traveling with Votel (CNN) The top United States commander in the war against ISIS aligned himself Sunday with the U.S. intelligence community assessment that there are "tens of thousands" of ISIS fighters spread across Syria and Iraq.

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