Backed Fighters Launch Final Push to Defeat ISIS in Syria

Map showing last IS-held territory in Syria

Hundreds of civilians are also believed to be inside, he said.

A picture taken on February 9, 2019, near Al-Qaim, a few kilometres away from the last scrap of territory held by ISIL in eastern Syria, shows wheeled 155 mm gun-howitzer CAESAR system used by French soldiers engaged in Operation Chammal, the French military operation within Operation Inherent Resolve, the worldwide coalition against ISIL.

SDF official Bali described the assault as "the last battle".

Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), backed by Washington, plan to attack the last ISIS enclave in Syria once civilians, who are still inside that area, have been evacuated, an SDF official said.

But while United States military officials are planning for the next phase of the ISIS fight, including what to do about the thousands of dispersed fighters, Votel highlighted that the battle for the terror group's last redoubt in Syria will be a challenging one.

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.

Mustafa Bali, an SDF spokesman, tweeted that SDF forces had destroyed fortifications in the Village of Baghuz, but that heavy fighting continued.

More than 20,000 civilians have left the ISIS-held area in recent weeks.

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

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It was also reminiscent of another United goal at Craven Cottage over a decade ago, scored by Cristiano Ronaldo . That's what we wanted, since Ole came, the top four. "There were some good performances today, I have to say".

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the push by the Kurdish-led SDF has been slow due to land mines and sniper fire, as well as the extremists' use of tunnels and suicide vehicle bombs.

At its peak, ISIS held large swaths of Iraq and Syria - an expanse about the size of Portugal.

The head of U.S. Central Command, Gen. Joseph Votel, cautioned against a quick withdrawal last week, telling the Senate Armed Services Committee, "the fight against ISIS and violent extremists is not over and our mission has not changed".

Relative calm is prevailing eastern Syria as the negotiation for the withdrawal of the IS from the last four sq km it controls in the eastern Euphrates River is ongoing, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Some 600 people were able to reach SDF territory on Sunday after fleeing the fighting, the Observatory said.

SDF commander Adnan Afrin told CBS News he was anxious about what would happen if US forces leave, saying an underground network of fighters are already preparing to regroup.

Under the working military plans, the USA would pull all troops out in the coming weeks - including about 200 Americans working out of a base in southern Syria [al-Tanf] that has served as an informal check on Iran's expansionist ambitions in the region, the current and former US officials said.

Therefore, he said, the SDF is taking more measures to create a corridor to make sure they remain safe.

The Kurdish-led force lost nine fighters during battles with jihadists, the Observatory said.

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