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.
SDF troops, led by Kurdish fighters, have been holding on the outskirts of ISIS territory for the last 10 days as more than 20,000 civilians were evacuated from the besieged enclave, the SDF said.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) "started to move on to the last village remaining under jihadists' control in [northern] Syria", said SDF press officer Mustafa Bali on Saturday evening.
The leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has survived an attempted coup last month by foreign fighters in eastern Syria, The Jerusalem Post reported.
The president told representatives of a 79-member, US-led coalition fighting ISIS that the militants held a tiny percentage of the vast territory they claimed as their "caliphate".
Trump said in December he was pulling all 2,000 USA troops out of Syria, saying the battle against Islamic State there was nearly won.
Islamic State redrew the map of the Middle East in 2014 when it declared a caliphate across large areas of Syria and Iraq.
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It will take 3 to 5 years for Huawei to deal with security issues raised by the UK's National Cyber Security Council (NCSC). It is likely that Trump may sign an order banning use of Chinese telecom equipment in USA networks citing security issues.
Near the battlefield, an SDF spokesman at the Omar oil field turned military base, said: "Progress is slow".
More than 37,000 people, mostly wives and children of jihadist fighters, have fled ISIS territory since the SDF, backed by the US-led coalition, intensified its offensive in December, according to the Observatory.
Estimates of the number of fighters remaining in the pinprick of territory vary wildly from dozens to hundreds, but they are thought to include some of the most die-hard and committed extremists who have remained with the group to the bitter end.
The SDF said it has not been in communication or agreed the ceasefire with IS.
The SDF launched an operation to expel IS from Deir Ezzor in September, and has slowly advanced against IS despite the militants putting up a fierce fightback.
There are between 14,000 and 18,000 ISIS militants in Syria and in Iraq, including up to 3,000 foreign militants, according to a report by the sanctions monitoring team presented to the Security Council.
The Observatory said suspected ISIS sleeper cells have allegedly assassinated at least 50 civilians and 135 SDF fighters in Kurdish-held territory since August.