Published: Fri, March 15, 2019
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Syria: ISIL’s last fight to end very soon, predicts SDF militia

Syria: ISIL’s last fight to end very soon, predicts SDF militia

The fighters of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces moved toward a tent encampment in the village of Baghouz and at one point encircled a group of Islamic State militants, killing a number of them in an hourlong battle, a Syrian Democratic Forces spokesman said.

The second attack, launched in the afternoon, was "much stronger" than the first, the media office of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said in a note circulated to journalists.

"The ISIS threat, the al-Qaeda threat, the terrorist threat is an ideological threat worldwide, and it's something that I think we have to be vigilant against for the foreseeable future", he said. "Fighting is still continuing".

The bulk of the people evacuated from the diminishing Islamic State territory have been transported to a camp for internally displaced people in al-Hol, in northeastern Syria, where the United Nations says conditions are "extremely dire".

There were no casualties.

"There were suicide vest attacks by a group of bombers who tried to blow themselves up amidst our forces".

The last bastion was pounded with air strikes and artillery throughout Sunday and Monday in a US-backed assault aimed at wiping out the last shred of its territorial rule that once spanned a third of Syria and Iraq.

"So, to preserve the lives of our fighters and to complete this battle while minimizing losses, we are slowing down our advance for the safety and security of our forces".

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Over the course of several weeks, SDF fighters have postponed their final assault on the area to allow the evacuation of thousands of civilians, many of whom are wives and children of IS fighters.

"It hasn't happened formally yet, but they're looking at it", he said, adding that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joe Dunford, is working to set up the force.Bolton insisted there was no contradiction between Trump's assertion that the caliphate declared by the Islamic State group has been eliminated 100 percent, and the assessment of the top USA commander in the Middle East, who told Congress last week the fight is "far from over". Three women and four children belonging to the Yazidi sect, a minority group who were kidnapped and enslaved by Islamic State in 2014, were also freed, he said. It finally resumed the attack on Sunday, backed by coalition air strikes.

Another SDF official said 38 jihadists had been confirmed killed.

The President's top national security adviser said Sunday that the threat of ISIS still remains and could undergo a resurgence, despite Donald Trump's declaration that USA backed forces have retaken "100%" of the territory once claimed by ISIS in Syria.

The jihadists have continued to claim deadly attacks in SDF-held territory in recent months, and the USA military has warned of the need to maintain a "vigilant offensive".

"Tomorrow, God willing, we will be in paradise and they will be burning in hell", one of the men interviewed in the video said.

Baghouz is the latest front on Syria's complex civil war, which enters its ninth year this month.

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