Backed fighters launch final push to defeat ISIS in Syria

10 February, 2019, 13:29 | Author: Carlos George
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Syrian Democratic Forces, backed by the United States, began their last attack on territory held by the so-called Islamic State on Saturday night.

SDF troops, led by Kurdish fighters, have been holding on the outskirts of ISIS territory for the last 10 days as more than 20,000 civilians were evacuated from the besieged enclave, the SDF said.

The announcement came from the SDF spokesman, Mustafa Bali, who said it would be the final assault on the remaining two villages.

The SDF, backed by the US -led coalition, has defeated Islamic State across a swathe of northern and eastern Syria.

He later postponed the operation after talks with his American counterpart Donald Trump, who announced a USA troop pull-out from Syria.

The president told representatives of a 79-member, US-led coalition fighting ISIS that the militants held a tiny percentage of the vast territory they claimed as their "caliphate".

Unless the Trump administration alters course, the military plans to pull a significant portion of its 2,000 troops out by the middle of next month, with a full withdrawal coming by the end of April, the newspaper said on Wednesday.

Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared the group's "caliphate" in 2014 in territory stretching across Iraq and Syria.

Hundreds of civilians are also believed to be inside.

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USA and SDF officials say, however, they have no reason to believe he is there.

The SDF, backed by a US-led coalition, has pushed IS back across a large swathe of northern and eastern Syria.

An SDF statement said the offensive was focused on the village of Baghouz.

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 Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) have formed the backbone of the US-backed SDF, but neighbouring Turkey sees them as "terrorists". Tens of thousands of ISIS fighters are gone.

The country's Kurds have largely stayed out of the conflict, instead developing semi-autonomous institutions in parts of the country's northeast under their control.

This suits his agenda of withdrawing all USA troops from Syria.

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