Saturday, 23 February, 2019

'Heavy clashes' as SDF launches push against ISIL

Screen Shot Syrian Kurdish Leader ‘Not Enough’ Being Done Against Growing al Qaeda in Syria Breitbart News Screencap7 Feb 2019
Andrew Cummings | 11 February, 2019, 03:15

US-backed Syrian forces are engaged in heavy fighting in northeastern Syria after launching a final push against the last territory held by ISIS, with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) spokesman saying the battle could be finished within days.

"The SDF has launched its final battle to eliminate the terrorist ISIS organization in Al-Baghouz village; the last ISIS stronghold", the SDF said in a statement.

Earlier Saturday, IS militants attacked SDF fighters near an oil field in the country's east, triggering airstrikes by the US -led coalition.

Trump said on Wednesday that he expected a formal announcement as early as next week that the coalition fighting the militants has reclaimed all of the territory it previously held.

SDF fighters are advancing with support from coalition air strikes and artillery located across the border in Iraq. But with members of his own administration warning against a hasty withdrawal, the USA military will likely stay in Syria until the end of April, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

"The decisive battle began tonight to finish what remains of Daesh terrorists", Bali said, using an Arabic acronym to refer to IS.

A series of assaults have left that proto-state in tatters.

Bali told Reuters in the last 10 days SDF fighters had handled the battle "patiently" as more than 20,000 civilians were evacuated from the besieged enclave. "This was the foreign fighter element, some of his most trusted people".

Referring to future US troop levels in Iraq, Votel said: "I think it's going to remain more or less steady".

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SDF commanders have told CNN that its fighters are being met by fierce resistance from ISIS militants, who are retaliating with heat-seeking missiles.

"Remnants - that's all they have, remnants - but remnants can be very risky", Trump said. Some civilians are believed to be still in the area.

In December, US President Donald Trump said IS militants were "mostly gone" and announced the US would withdraw all of its 2,000 troops from Syria.

The SDF holds hundreds of foreigners accused of belonging to the extremist group in its custody, as well as members of their families.

The source said both Turkey and the USA agreed that the process has gathered momentum.

Back in December 2018, Trump announced a plan to withdraw the US military in Syria, . a decision that unsettled its allies at the time.

As the SDF closed in, there were reports that two Canadian women and their children who had been living in the ISIS-controlled area had surrendered to the USA -backed forces, CNN and CBC reported Sunday.

The withdrawal would also include troops deployed at the USA military base at Tanf, near the Syrian border with Iraq and Jordan, they said.

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