Backed Syrian fighters advance in clashes with Daesh

Backed Syrian fighters advance in clashes with Daesh

Backed Syrian fighters advance in clashes with Daesh

Fourthly, Ankara invaded Idlib in northwestern Syria in October 2017 on the pretext of enforcing a de-escalation zone between the Syrian militants and the Syrian government, despite official protest from Damascus that the Turkish armed forces were in violation of Syria's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

After losing the four sq km, the IS will still be in control of 4,000 sq km in the desert in eastern Syria.

US -backed forces were locked in fierce fighting Sunday as they pressed the battle against the last shred of Daesh's (ISIS) "caliphate" in eastern Syria.

SDF official Mustafa Bali, speaking to Reuters, described the assault as "the last battle".

"The battle is very fierce", he later told The Associated Press.

"They are attempting to escape through intermixing with the innocent women and children attempting to flee the fighting", Ghika said in a statement.

Baghuz is all that is left of the "Hajin pocket" in the Euphrates River valley - itself the rump of the "caliphate" declared by ISIS in 2014.

But military offensives in both countries, including by the SDF, have since retaken the vast bulk of that "caliphate".

There are fears that IS sleeper cells could smuggle themselves among civilians and launch a new insurgency following a planned USA withdrawal, due to be completed by April.

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 jihadists have been reduced to just a few square kilometres/miles of territory.

"You're always going to have some people", he explained to representatives from the global coalition to defeat ISIS.

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.

Trump wants to withdraw USA troops from Syria by the end of April, a plan that has alarmed European allies including Germany. Families who lived under the grip of ISIS until the bitter end.

Intelligence officials in Iraq, the United Kingdom and U.S. believe that Al-Baghdadi has recently spent time in Daesh's final stronghold.

While ISIS will soon no longer have fixed positions anywhere in Iraq or Syria, its surviving fighters have reverted to guerrilla warfare and remain a potent force.

As the fighting in Syria reaches its final phases, the number of foreigners taken prisoner by the SDF has spiked. They have been escorted to camps where they are screened for ties to the militants.

SDF spokesman Mustefa Bali told AFP on Wednesday that his group is detaining foreign IS fighters on a "daily basis". The US military has warned the group could stage a comeback if the military and counterterrorism pressure on it is eased. Al-Baghdadi ascended as the leader of ISIS in 2010.

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