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‘Intense’ clashes as SDF make last push against ISIS

2019/02/10 | 21:20

(Hatha al-Youm | Iraq News)-

BAGHOUZ, Syria – The final military push for control of ISIS-held territory began with “intense” clashes, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said on Sunday. The force announced Saturday evening the launch of the final stage of their campaign against ISIS in the last pocket of territory controlled by the extremists in Baghouz, Deir ez-Zor. The SDF fought off an ISIS counterattack Sunday morning, said media officer Mustafa Bali, and were able to advance from the north and west. “Heavy fighting is going on inside the last village at the moment,” he said. There are an estimated 500 jihadists are holed up in the 3 square kilometre Baghouz area. The SDF had delayed starting its last offensive, giving civilians time to flee. Last week officials said they were receiving and registering some 400 people every day, 28,000 over the past month and a half. The Kurdish-Arab alliance of the SDF is backed by the coalition, particularly US and French forces that are on the ground in northern Syria. France’s Defence Minister Florence Parly visited the Iraqi side of the border on Saturday where France has a forward artillery base near al-Qaim, just a few kilometres from Baghouz.  (L to R) French Major of the Wagram Task Force Francois-Regis Legrier explains military positions on a sand map to French Defence Minister Florence Parly, French General Jean-Marc Vigilant, US Army General Paul La-camera, and French ambassador to Iraq Bruno Aubert at a French artillery base in al-Qaim February 9, 2019. Photo: Daphné Benoit/AFPDuring her visit to Iraq and meeting with French forces, Parly told them not to be distracted, despite the disconcerting announcement from their American allies that the US troops will pull out of Syria. France “is determined to complete this fight against those who have struck her,” said Parly. Reporting from Viviyan Fetah











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