Middle East

IS 'breathing its last' in eastern Syria, hiding among civilians

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Islamic State is breathing its last in in eastern Syria with its elements hiding among civilians for protection, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says.

Islamic State is on its last legs in eastern Syria where the extremist group is the target of an onslaught in its last bastion in the energy-rich area, a war monitor reports.

On Saturday, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a Kurdish-led militia allied with the United States, started an offensive to expel Islamic State from the village of Baghuz, the only area still under its control in the eastern province of Deir al-Zour.


U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces fighters looking at smoke rising.
US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces fighters look to a shell smoke that target the Islamic State militants, at the village of Baghouz, in Deir El-Zour, Syria.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights

"Daesh (Islamic State) is breathing its last in the area with its elements now hiding among civilians for protection," Rami Abdel- Rahman, the head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said.

"They are now confined to camps in the farmland located on the eastern banks of the Euphrates River," Abdel-Rahman told dpa.

An SDF commander, who goes by the name Adnan Afrin, said the Islamic State remnants seem determined to resist until the end.

The final push against IS in Syria has begun, with the group losing all of its so-called caliphate.
The final push against IS in Syria has begun, with the group losing all of its so-called caliphate.
AP

"In the past few days, Daesh has used women fighters as suicide bombers against our advancing forces in order to delay our moves," Afrin said.

Syrian soldiers patroling in the street of Qaryatayn, Syria
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says 128 people have been killed in revenge killings by IS.
Supplied

SDF forces have been supported in their push against Islamic State by intense airstrikes from a US-led coalition, according to the observatory.

The radical group still has foothold in the Syrian desert north of the city of al-Sukhna, around 50 kilometres from neighbouring Deir al-Zour.

Syria's Kurds have played a major role in fighting Islamic State and seized much of the territory that was under its control in war-torn Syria.

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