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Isis face final assault in Syria as US-backed fighters close in on last remaining stronghold

The Gazette Staff
Written by The Gazette Staff

Isis is facing its final territorial defeat after Syrian forces supported by the US said they were closing in on the terrorist’s group’s last remaining stronghold.

A spokesperson for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said the fierce battle being fought over the village of Baghouz in eastern Syria was likely to be over “soon”.

The SDF began a final assault to capture the enclave, which is near the Iraqi border, on Thursday.

If successful, their campaign will be a milestone in four years of fighting against a group which once controlled territory across a third of Syria and Iraq.

Thousands of Isis fighters and followers retreated to Baghouz as the group was gradually driven out of other regions.

In recent weeks around 40,000 people of various nationalities have fled the tiny cluster of villages and farmlands in Deir ez-Zor province.

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The number of evacuees streaming out of Baghouz surpassed initial estimates of how many were inside.

Their evacuation delayed the final assault until Friday evening when SDF forces said they had advanced and would not stop until the jihadists had been defeated.

“We expect it to be over soon,” Mustafa Bali, a spokesman for the SDF, said.

The SDF is advancing on two fronts using medium and heavy weaponry, and three of its fighters have been wounded so far, he added.

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