Syr­ian push aims for de­feat of IS

Albuquerque Journal - - NATION & WORLD -

BEIRUT — U.S.-backed and Kur­dish-led Syr­ian forces said Satur­day they have launched a fi­nal push to de­feat the Is­lamic State group in the last tiny pocket the ex­trem­ists hold in eastern Syria.

Syr­ian Demo­cratic Forces spokesman Mustafa Bali tweeted that the of­fen­sive be­gan Satur­day after more than 20,000 civil­ians were evac­u­ated from the IS-held area in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour.

The SDF, backed by U.S. 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 Iraq bor­der.

Scores of IS fight­ers are be­sieged in two vil­lages, less than one per­cent of the self-styled caliphate that sprawled across large parts of Syria and Iraq.

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