Backed Syrian fighters advance in clashes with Islamic State
11 February, 2019, 07:42 | Author: Sue Mclaughlin
The SDF, backed by US -led coalition airstrikes, is fighting IS in a 4-square-kilometer area that includes Baghuz and is near the Iraqi border.
Major General Christopher Ghika, the coalition's deputy commander, described the size of the last patch of land held by the jihadists as "now less than one percent of the original caliphate".
"You're always going to have some people", he explained to representatives from the global coalition to defeat ISIS.
In the past week and a half, more than 20,000 civilians have been evacuated from the besieged area.
Four years ago, ISIS controlled territory the size of Britain and administered millions of people, but the United States coalition fighting the group said 99.5% of it has been clawed back in successive offensives.
A senior Trump administration official briefed on objectives outlined at the meeting, speaking to the reporter, said, "As the president has stated, the USA will maintain whatever capability is necessary for operations needed to prevent the Islamic State's resurgence".
That figure includes some 3,200 suspected militants detained by the SDF, according to the monitor, which relies on sources inside Syria for its information.
Relative calm is prevailing eastern Syria as the negotiation for the withdrawal of the IS from the last four sq km it controls in the eastern Euphrates River is ongoing, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
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