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'Heavy clashes' as US-backed forces battle IS in Syria: Monitor


BEIRUT: US-backed forces have been locked in fierce fighting as they pressed the battle towards the closing shred of the Islamic State workforce's "caliphate" in japanese Syria on Sunday, a warfare monitor mentioned.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), supported through a US-led coalition, announced a final push to retake the jihadist pocket near the Iraqi border past due Saturday, after a pause of greater than a week to allow civilians to flee.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported heavy clashes between both sides on Sunday morning, as coalition planes and artillery bombarded jihadist positions.

"The battle is ongoing. There were heavy clashes this morning, with landmines going off," mentioned Rami Abdel Rahman, the pinnacle of the Britain-based warfare monitor.

The SDF introduced an offensive to expel IS from the japanese province of Deir Ezzor in September.

The Kurdish-led alliance has since whittled down jihadist-held territory to a patch of just four square kilometres (one square mile) at the japanese banks of the Euphrates.

Up to 600 jihadists could nonetheless stay within, most of them foreigners, in line with SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali.

Since fighting intensified in December, greater than 37,000 other people, most commonly other halves and children of jihadist opponents, have fled out into SDF-held wasteland spaces, the Observatory says.


That figure contains some 3,200 suspected jihadists detained through the SDF, in line with the monitor, which will depend on assets within Syria for its information.


At the peak of their rule, the jihadists imposed their brutal interpretation of Islamic regulation on a territory spanning parts of Syria and Iraq that was once more or less the size of Britain.


But separate military offensives in both countries, together with through the SDF, have since retaken the vast bulk of the cross-border "caliphate" they declared in 2014




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