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Fierce Clashes as SDF Fight ISIS Last Pocket in Syria


Fierce fighting was underway to retake the last pocket still controlled by ISIS in eastern Syria, by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), backed by the US, on Sunday, AFP reported.

The SDF forces announced a final push to retake the extremist’s last territory near the Iraqi border late Saturday, February 9th, after a pause of more than a week to allow civilians to flee.

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

Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Britain-based Observatory said: "The battle is ongoing. There were heavy clashes this morning, with landmines going off."
In September, the Syrian Democratic Forces launched an operation to expel ISIS from the eastern Syrian province of Deir Ezzor.

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

SDF spokesman, Mustafa Bali, told AP late last night that the jihadists defending their last stronghold in eastern Syria are the most experienced.
He added that up to 600 jihadists could still remain inside, most of them foreigners.

Bali also stated that would be the final assault on the remaining two villages to crush ISIS.

The Observatory says since fighting intensified in December, more than 37,000 people, mostly wives and children of jihadist fighters, have fled out into SDF-held desert areas.