U.S.-backed Syrian forces launched an assault against the final Islamic State enclave in eastern Syria yesterday. The assault aims to wipe out the last vestige of self-declared “caliphate” of IS that once spanned a third of Iraq and Syria.
The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have been poised to advance into the enclave for weeks, but has repeatedly held back to allow for the evacuation of civilians, many of them wives and children of IS fighters.
Mustafa Bali, head of the SDF media office said, no further civilians had emerged from the enclave at the Iraqi border since Saturday. He said SDF had not observed any more civilians in the area, prompting the decision to attack.
Bali said more than 4,000 IS militants had surrendered in the last month but the most hardened foreign militants are still holed up inside.