Syrian forces say Islamic State in its 'final moments'

Syrian forces say Islamic State in its 'final moments'

Syrian forces say Islamic State in its 'final moments'

The US-supported Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said on Tuesday that it had eliminated nearly 40 members of the Daesh* terrorist organisation in the southeastern Syrian village of Baghuz but lost three militias during the ensuing clashes.

The destruction of ISIS at Baghouz will mark a milestone in the campaign against the jihadist group, bringing an end to its control of populated territory in the area straddling Iraq and Syria where it suddenly expanded in 2014 and declared a caliphate.

Kurd fighters have been trying to crush holdout residual Daesh militia for weeks but the mass outpouring of men, women and children from the riverside hamlet has bogged down its advance.

The final push was initially put on hold by the US-led coalition and the SDF to save civilians and hostages that were being held captive by the remaining Islamic State fighters.

Airstrikes and shelling have pummelled Baghouz for two nights in a row, killing scores of fighters and prompting hundreds of jihadists and their relatives to surrender.

Bali said SDF forces had bombarded Baghouz heavily overnight before engaging in direct clashes with IS fighters in the pre-dawn hours.

SDF official Mustafa Bali said on Twitter late on Tuesday the number of ISIL members who had surrendered has risen to 3,000.

"The objective of our advance is to terrorize ISIS fighters so they surrender, and for the civilians to come out", said the 27-year-old fighter.

"We readied ourselves today and our spirits are high", he told AFP.

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 United States backed forces have retaken "100%" of the territory once claimed by ISIS in Syria. And there are different circumstances in different parts of the world but for those who've said, for example, that the terrorist threat from Iran - those who've said in the years since the 1979 Islamic revolution, 40 years now, the ideology will fade, they'll just become normal nation again like everybody else, that hasn't been true in Iran.

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He said US-backed forces clashed with jihadists on several fronts, killing almost 40 IS fighters.

Since December, about 60,000 people have left the last IS temporary fortification, according to Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, around a tenth of them suspected jihadists.

"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.

The UN's food agency said it is concerned about their well-being.

"On Sunday night more than 3,000 people, mostly women and children in a poor state, reached the camp", the WFP said.

At the height of its brutal rule, IS controlled a stretch of land in Syria and Iraq the size of UK.

Around 2,000 members of the bloodthirsty terror have now surrendered after being flushed out of their hideouts in the war-ravaged town of Baghouz in eastern Syria.

A Reuters journalist in Baghouz saw hundreds of people surrendering to the SDF, which launched its final attack to capture Baghouz on Sunday, backed by US-led worldwide coalition air strikes and after weeks of siege.

Less than two weeks ago, Trump declared that "100%" of the ISIS caliphate was liberated, surprising United States officials and regional allies leading the fight who said the battle isn't over.

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