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ISIS will be defeated in Syria within a month: commander

ISIS will be defeated in Syria within a month commander
ISIS will be defeated in Syria within a month: commander

2019-01-25 00:00:00 - Source: Baghdad Post

Military operations against ISIS in Syria are wrapping up

and the last pocket of the jihadists' "caliphate" will be flushed out

within a month, a top commander said, according to AFP.

"The operation of our forces against ISIS in its last

pocket has reached its end and ISIS fighters are now surrounded in one

area," Mazloum Kobani, the chief of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic

Forces, told AFP.

With backing from the US-led coalition, the SDF are in the

last phase of an operation started on September 10 to defeat the jihadists in

the Euphrates Valley in eastern Syria.

"We need a month to eliminate ISIS remnants still in

the area," said Kobani, who spoke to AFP on Thursday near the northeastern

Syrian city of Hasakeh.

A few hundred ISIS fighters are defending a handful of

hamlets near the Iraqi border, the last rump of a "caliphate" which

the jihadist organization proclaimed in 2014 and once covered territory the

size of Britain.

"I believe that during the next month we will

officially announce the end of the military presence on the ground of the

so-called caliphate," Kobani said.

Intense fighting in the area known as "the Hajin

pocket" has left hundreds of fighters dead on both sides, according to the

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor.

ISIS lost the town of Hajin late last year and the

subsequent collapse of its defenses saw the Kurdish-led SDF conquer one village

after another.

Kobani said their battle had been complicated by the

jihadist group's shifting strategy after the fall of their de-facto Syrian

capital of Raqqa in 2017.

New tactics include "sleeper cells everywhere, secretly

recruiting people again, and carrying out suicide operations, bombings, and

assassinations", he said.

"We expect there will be an increase in the intensity

of ISIS operations against our forces after the end of their military

presence," Kobani said.

ISIS has retained a presence in Syria's vast Badia desert

and has claimed a series of attacks in SDF-held territory.

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