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Final Battle Against Islamic State Caliphate ‘to be Over Soon’

Final Battle Against Islamic State Caliphate ‘to be Over Soon’

In recent months, the Kurdish-led SDF has been carrying out operations against Daesh militants in Syria, with support from the US-led coalition.

But it is universally accepted that the group, which has been in territorial retreat since then and suffered its major defeats in 2017, will remain a security threat as an insurgent force with sleeper cells and some desolate pockets of territory.

Both U.S. and SDF officials had been bracing for a hard fight, warning those IS fighters who remained in Baghuz were among the most dedicated and hardened that the terror group had to offer. In the last week alone, 13,000 people, a lot of them women and children, arrived at the al-Hol camp in Hassakeh province which now houses approximately 45,000 people, according to the United Nations.

The US-led coalition once again carried out airstrikes on the inhabited community of al-Baghouz in Syria's Deir ez-Zor province on Sunday using white phosphorus munitions, the SANA news agency reported.

"They had lost their way. violated the traditions of Syrian society and the law, and some of them had been deceived. but they remain our Syrian children", said a statement from the semi-autonomous Kurdish administration of northern Syria, suggesting the 283 released had not been involved in fighting.

Mr Bali told The Daily Telegraph that said the operation is expected to last two days, but may take a week to complete as hardened jihadists fight back with heavy weapons and suicide auto bombs.

The SDF said its fighters were surprised by the number of civilians, who include IS family members, cooped up in the small area that has been squeezed smaller and smaller by intermittent military offensives.

The jihadists had also shelled the approaching force.

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"My comrade was sent to the hospital".

AFP reporters near the front line saw explosions lighting up the sky over the eastern Syrian farming village after an airstrike hit an underground ammunition depot.

Over the last few weeks, they poured out in greater numbers than expected, holding up the final assault.

After removing the remaining civilians on Friday - mostly women and children - the SDF resumed their assault on the village. It has not ruled out the possibility that some have crept out, hidden among civilians.

Speaking to American troops on Thursday, US president Donald Trump claimed the mission had already been completed "100 percent".

"It must be a main weapons depot", said Sefqan, an SDF commander using only his nom de guerre.

"There aren't any civilians left in Baghuz, so it's a matter of time before we take a full control of it", SDF spokeswoman Lilwa Abdullah told VOA late Friday, describing the initial fighting as intense.


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