U.S.-backed Syrian forces have reportedly launched a final battle against the Islamic State enclave in Eastern Syria.
QAMISHLI, Syria (Reuters) - The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) began an assault against the final Islamic State enclave in eastern Syria on Saturday, aiming to wipe out the last vestige of the jihadist group's "caliphate" in the SDF's area of operations.
President Donald Trump, who is planning to pull U.S. forces out of Syria, said on Wednesday he expected an announcement as early as next week that the U.S.-led coalition operating in support of the SDF had reclaimed all the territory previously held by the jihadist group.
The enclave is close to the Iraqi border and comprises two villages, though Islamic State (IS) also still has territory in the part of Syria that is mostly under the control of the Russian- and Iranian-backed Syrian government.
SDF official Mustafa Bali, speaking to Reuters, described the assault as "the last battle". He later wrote on Twitter that the attack had started and the enclave would "be cleared soon".
The SDF had handled the last 10 days "patiently" as more than 20,000 civilians were evacuated from the besieged IS enclave, Bali said.
Senior SDF official Redur Xelil told Reuters the force hoped to capture the area by the end of February, but cautioned that IS would continue to pose "great and serious" security threats even after that.
What are your thoughts? Please share and comment with your opinions.