U.S.-backed forces storm IS-held vil­lage

Move comes at the end of week­long of­fen­sive to pres­sure ex­trem­ists

The Dallas Morning News - - World -

BEIRUT — U.S.-backed Syr­ian forces en­tered an east­ern vil­lage Satur­day in the last pocket of ter­ri­tory held by the Is­lamic State in Syria, the forces said.

The Kur­dish-led Syr­ian Demo­cratic Forces said its fight­ers stormed Bagouz and were close to the cen­ter of the vil­lage. The forces said they planned to open an­other front in the Sousseh area along the Euphrates river to in­crease pres­sure on the ex­trem­ists.

The Syr­ian Demo­cratic Forces, backed by the U.S.-led coali­tion, launched a wide of­fen­sive this week to cap­ture the last area held by the Is­lamic State in Syria. The Kur­dish-led forces have been among the most ef­fec­tive in the fight against the Is­lamic State in Syria, forc­ing them out of much of the coun­try’s east.

De­spite los­ing most of the ter­ri­tory it held be­tween Iraq and Syria since its peak in 2014, the Is­lamic State re­mains a dis­rup­tive force in both coun­tries. Its leader, Abu Bakr al-Bagh­dadi, urged his fol­low­ers to “per­se­vere” in an au­dio tape at­trib­uted to him last month.

In an­other de­vel­op­ment, Syr­ian state me­dia re­ported that Is­rael at­tacked Da­m­as­cus In­ter­na­tional Air­port with mis­siles Satur­day night. A war mon­i­tor­ing group, the Syr­ian Ob­ser­va­tory for Hu­man Rights, said the at­tack tar­geted an arms de­pot for Ira­nian forces or Le­banon’s Hezbol­lah group. The mon­i­tor­ing group had no im­me­di­ate word on ca­su­al­ties.

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