Backed Syria force announces 'decisive' push against final IS holdout

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USA -backed forces were locked in fierce fighting Sunday as they pressed the battle against the last shred of Daesh's (ISIS) "caliphate" in eastern Syria.

"Heavy fighting is going on inside the last village at the moment", he said.

The SDF, backed by a USA -led coalition, began the assault on Saturday, seeking to wipe out the last remnants of the jihadist group's "caliphate" in the SDF's area of operations in eastern and northern Syria.

President Donald Trump, repeating a variation of an earlier statement by Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, predicted earlier this week that the USA military and its coalition partners will have successfully liberated all ISIS-controlled territory.

US officials have said in recent weeks that IS has lost 99.5 percent of its territory and is holding onto fewer than 5 square kilometers in Syria, or less than 2 square miles, where the bulk of the fighters are concentrated. He has said repeatedly that he doesn't want the U.S.to be the world's policeman and that he intends to bring the 2,000 US troops home.

Mr Ghika said warplanes had bombed a media centre used by fanatics in Syria recently, with ISIS reduced to a tiny sliver of territory within the country.

The withdrawal of USA forces could also spell trouble for their closest ally in the region, the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), who Turkey considers a terrorist group.

After weeks of fighting the SDF announced the start of a final operation to oust ISIS from the last village held by the extremist group.

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The alliance had earlier said that up to 600 jihadists as well as hundreds of civilians could remain inside a patch four square kilometres (one mile square).

Earlier Saturday, IS militants attacked SDF fighters near an oil field in the country's east, triggering airstrikes by the US -led coalition.

Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said the SDF was "advancing slowly" on the edges of Baghouz, but cautioned landmines, snipers and tunnels dug by ISIL fighters were hindering progress.

More than 79 states and global organisations joined the coalition against ISIS but Monday's fighting was being carried out by Kurdish-led SDF fighters with support from coalition warplanes and artillery.

Ankara emphasized that the Manbij road map reached between Turkey and the U.S.is an exemplary agreement for Washington and a model for it to cease its cooperation with the PKK terrorist group's Syrian affiliate People's Protection Units (YPG).

D'Agata has seen the fighting from eastern Syria, even being forced to run from ISIS bombs just last week. But in an interview with The Daily Mail, he said Britain and its allies were hunting down the online jihadis. But activists and residents say ISIS still has sleeper cells in Syria and Iraq, and is laying the groundwork for an insurgency.

A senior military official from the SDF said that other members of IS's foreign legion had joined the fight against Baghdadi, including some Algerians and Moroccans.

Tens of thousands of ISIS fighters are gone.

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