Published: Sun, February 10, 2019
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Backed Kurdish fighters begin offensive into last Syrian territory held by ISIS

Backed Kurdish fighters begin offensive into last Syrian territory held by ISIS

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces said Saturday it had begun the "final battle" to oust the Islamic State group from the last scrap of territory it holds in eastern Syria.

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.

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

The SDF, backed by U.S. air power, has driven ISIS from large swathes of territory it once controlled in northern and eastern Syria, confining the extremists to a small pocket of land near the border with Iraq.

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.

This is a developing story.

More than 37,000 people, mostly wives and children of jihadi fighters, have fled IS territory since the SDF intensified its offensive in December, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

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.

"We remain a long way from peace in Syria", said Merkel, adored by numerous more than 550,000 Syrians who have found refuge in Germany after she decided in 2015 to open the country's borders to nearly a million asylum seekers.

The U.S. -led coalition has said it is not discussing the timeline of the U.S. withdrawal from Syria. According to The Wall Street Journal, the military plans to complete the withdrawal of all United States troops from Syria by the end of April.

The leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has survived an attempted coup last month by foreign fighters in eastern Syria, The Jerusalem Post reported. "This was the foreign fighter element, some of his most trusted people", the intelligence source reportedly said.

29 that Islamic State was expected to lose the final chunk of territory within a couple of weeks.

Earlier this week, CBS News visited the frontline and found no sign of a slowdown, as Kurdish-led troops closed in on the last strip of ISIS territory, backed up by USA and coalition airstrikes.

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