Backed Syrian fighters advance in clashes with Islamic State

Backed Syrian fighters advance in clashes with Islamic State

Backed Syrian fighters advance in clashes with Islamic State

USA -backed Syrian Democratic Forces were engaged in heavy clashes against Islamic State as they sought to clear the last enclave the militant group controls in eastern Syria.

The assault began on Saturday after nearly 20,000 people were evacuated from the ISIS-held area in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour along the Iraqi border, according to SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali.

"IS counterattack was foiled at 4 am this morning", Bali tweeted on Sunday morning.

On Saturday, Bali said he expected the battle for the last patch of IS territory to be over in days.

Trump's comments came. after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told coalition partners that the withdrawal of U.S. military forces from the region. did not signify the end of America's fight.

The U.S. military has already started withdrawing equipment from Syria.

"The SDF have launched the final battle to crush IS.in the village of Baghouz", the SDF said in a statement.

Success against the Islamic State in Baghouz would also increase pressure on the US military to pull out of Syria, in accordance with Trump's instructions that the troops should leave once the Islamic State has been defeated.

This now leaves Votel to carry out the President's order to remove more than 2,000 troops from Syria, even as concern grows that the SDF fighters the U.S. has backed in northern Syria could get attacked by Turkish forces that see them as tied to Kurdish terrorist organizations.

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Bali said there could be up to 600 IS fighters still inside the pocket, majority foreigners.

US, French, British and other forces are also actively looking for wanted IS operatives among those fleeing the combat zone with civilians.

"ISIS isn't finished yet", one commander said this week.

President Donald Trump, who prematurely declared victory over ISIS in December, predicted earlier this week that ISIS will lose the last of its territory by next week. "It will take place in Hanoi, Vietnam, on February 27 & 28", Trump said on Twitter.

That figure includes some 3,200 suspected militants detained by the SDF, according to the monitor, which relies on sources inside Syria for its information. "They are mostly ISIS gangs' families".

He said that when the SDF detects movement from IS fighters, they bomb them, but added: "There have not been any major changes".

Trump wants to withdraw US troops from Syria by the end of April, a plan that has alarmed European allies including Germany.

The conservative chancellor said monitoring events in Syria was one of the BND's top priorities, which also include tracking cyber threats and fake news created to influence democratic elections.

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