SDF Will Attack IS Syria Enclave Once Civilians Out

SDF Will Attack IS Syria Enclave Once Civilians Out

President Trump's decision to pull USA troops out of Syria has triggered a scramble among worldwide powers and local forces to figure out how to fill the potentially destabilizing vacuum the Americans will leave behind.

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

He later wrote on Twitter that the battle had started and the enclave would "be cleared soon".

The SDF, backed by US air power, has driven IS from large swaths of territory it once controlled in northern and eastern Syria, confining the extremists to a small pocket of land near the border with Iraq.

ISIS overran large parts of Syria and neighbouring Iraq in 2014, declaring a "caliphate" in areas it controlled. US, French, British and other forces are also actively looking for wanted ISIS operatives among those fleeing the combat zone with civilians.

But a series of separate military operations, including by the SDF, have left its proto-state in tatters.

The deputy commander of the US-led coalition fighting the group, Major General Christopher Ghika, described the size of the last IS pocket as "now less than one percent of the original caliphate".

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The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) will launch their attack tonight as they seek to "eliminate the last remnants of the terrorist organisation".

Trump said on Wednesday that he expected a formal announcement as early as next week that the coalition fighting the militants has reclaimed all of the territory it previously held.

"The territorial caliphate, which has not yet been wiped out, is being defeated", minister Florence Parly said in Baghdad.

Backed by air strikes by the US-led coalition against ISIS, the Kurdish-Arab alliance has in recent months cornered the jihadists in a final patch of territory in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor.

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.

The jihadists maintain sleeper cells along the border with Iraq, as well as in cities they once ruled, and have carried out periodic hit-and-run attacks.

It said 401 civilians, including 144 children and teenagers, have been killed since then.

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