World

Offensive begins to free last IS-held Syrian territory

Agency | February 10, 2019 01:31 PM

DAMASCUS: US-backed Kurdish fighters have launched an offensive to free the last Syrian territory held by the Islamic State (IS) terror group, defence officials said on Sunday.

The territory is in the small town of Baghouz Al-Fawqani in Deir al-Zour province near the Iraqi border, reports CNN.

Before the offensive began on Saturday night, some 20,000 civilians were evacuated from the area.

According to reports from the area, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) were meeting with less resistance from the IS fighters.

SDF commanders said that there were come IS members who wanted to surrender and others who would fight until death.

The SDF has driven out the IS from towns and villages in north-eastern Syria in recent months, the BBC said.

In 2014, the IS established a "caliphate" stretching across Syria and Iraq and ruled over more than 7.7 million people.

The IS has suffered substantial losses, but the UN says it still reportedly controls between 14,000 and 18,000 militants in Iraq and Syria, including up to 3,000 foreigners.

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