Publicado: Sol, Febrero 10, 2019
Global | Por Milagro Delgado

Backed Kurds launch final push against ISIL in Syria

Backed Kurds launch final push against ISIL in Syria

On Friday, Kurdish-led forces in eastern Syria prepared for a push on the last remaining speck of the IS group's so-called "caliphate", of which just a few scattered hamlets in the Euphrates Valley remain.

President Donald Trump, who is planning to pull USA forces out of Syria, said on Wednesday he expected an announcement as early as next week that the US -led coalition operating in support of the SDF had reclaimed all the territory previously held by the jihadist group.

ISIS overran large parts of Syria and neighbouring Iraq in 2014, declaring a "caliphate" in areas it controlled.

In recent weeks, thousands of civilians, including families of ISIS fighters, left the area controlled by the extremists.

After a pause of more than a week to allow civilians to flee, the on SDF said Saturday it had resumed the fight to seize the last four-square-kilometre (one-square-mile) patch from the jihadists.

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

Merkel's remarks, which came at the inauguration of the Berlin headquarters of Germany's foreign intelligence agency BND, contradict statements by US President Donald Trump that the Islamist group has been defeated.

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Bali said in the last 10 days SDF fighters had handled the battle "patiently" as civilians were evacuated from the besieged villages.

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

Two U.S. security sources said the U.S. government's top experts strongly believe IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is still alive and possibly hiding in Iraq.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday the USA military was preparing to withdraw from Syria by end of April.

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

The Observatory said 12 IS gunmen attacked the SDF and clashed with them for several hours until most of the attackers were killed early Saturday.

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