Beirut (dpa) – Syrian Kurdish-led forces allied with the United
States said Thursday their campaign in Islamic State’s last bastion
in eastern Syria was ongoing, denying media reports that the radical
group was finally routed in the area.
Earlier this month, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a rebel
militia, started what they described as their final battle aimed at
expelling Islamic State militants from their last stronghold in the
village of Baghuz in eastern Syria.
“Our forces are still combing the area,” Mustafa Bali, an SDF
spokesman, said in a brief statement Thursday. “Once they finish, we
will announce liberation [of Baghuz],” he added.
Late Thursday, Bali in a tweet quoted Chya Farat, SDF head of
operation in eastern Syria, as saying that US-backed forces were
engaged in battles against the Islamic State in “several points on
the Euphrates River valley.”
He added that US-led coalition planes were also conducting several
strikes against targets for the Jihadist group.
Baghuz, located on the Euphrates River in eastern Syria near the
border with Iraq, is the last significant territory still in the
hands of Islamic State, which for years controlled swathes of both
SDF fighters have recently said that massive landmines planted by
Islamic State in the area have slowed down their advance.
Syria’s Kurds have played a major role in fighting Islamic State. The
SDF forces have captured much of the Syrian territory once held by
Islamic State, including its former de facto capital of al-Raqqa.