Syr­ian forces take 41 ISIS po­si­tions

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL -

BEIRUT — U.S.-backed Syr­ian forces cap­tured 41 po­si­tions held by Is­lamic State group mil­i­tants and de­stroyed their for­ti­fi­ca­tions in the last tiny pocket they hold in east­ern Syria, a spokesman said Sun­day.

Mustafa Bali said the Kur­dish-led Syr­ian Demo­cratic Forces made the ad­vances overnight and on Sun­day, hours af­ter they launched a fi­nal push to clear the area from Is­lamic State mil­i­tants Satur­day night.

The fi­nal bat­tle to clear the vil­lage of Baghouz is now play­ing out af­ter 20,000 civil­ians were evac­u­ated from the area in the east­ern province of Deir-el-Zour over the past few weeks.

Bali said heavy fight­ing was go­ing on in­side Baghouz on Sun­day, adding that an Is­lamic State coun­ter­at­tack was foiled early in the day. He did not say how long the bat­tle was ex­pected to last. U.S.-led coali­tion war­planes are giv­ing cover to ad­vanc­ing Syr­ian Demo­cratic Forces fight­ers.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump pre­dicted Wed­nes­day that the Is­lamic State group will lose by this week all the ter­ri­tory it once con­trolled in Iraq and Syria.

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