US-backed forces push to end ISIS caliphate

Weapons that are being used in the final push by US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to oust the ISIS out of the last shred of land in eastern Syria that the "caliphate" controls. The SDF hopes to capture the area by the end of this month.
Weapons that are being used in the final push by US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to oust the ISIS out of the last shred of land in eastern Syria that the "caliphate" controls. The SDF hopes to capture the area by the end of this month.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Fierce fighting was under way yesterday to retake the last shred of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terror group's "caliphate" in eastern Syria, as Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters backed by a US-led coalition began a push to retake the village of Baghuz.

Heavy clashes were taking place between the two sides, according to a war monitor.

United States-backed fighters have whittled down ISIS' territory to a patch of just 4km on the eastern banks of the Euphrates, with up to 600 extremists - most of them foreigners - believed to be holed up inside.

The assault was delayed for more than a week to allow more than 20,000 civilians to be evacuated to camps.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 11, 2019, with the headline 'US-backed forces push to end ISIS caliphate'. Print Edition | Subscribe