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10 February 2019, 08:29 | Glen Norman
Syrian Kurdish Leader ‘Not Enough’ Being Done Against Growing al Qaeda in Syria Breitbart News Screencap7 Feb 2019
At about 6 p.m. Saturday, as darkness crept over eastern Syria, Kurdish forces backed by US-led coalition aircraft and using artillery and heavy machine guns began an assault of the last ISIS enclave in the country.
He said in the last ten days, SDF fighters had handled the battle "patiently" as more than 20,000 civilians were evacuated from the besieged enclave comprising two villages near the Iraqi border.
Four years ago, ISIS controlled territory the size of Britain and administered millions of people, but the U.S. coalition fighting the group said 99.5% of it has been clawed back in successive offensives.
Trump made the statement during his speech to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS on Wednesday at the U.S. State Department, . praising the territorial gains made against the terror group.
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The SDF, backed by the US-led coalition, has defeated ISIS across a swathe of northern and eastern Syria in recent months, reducing its once expansive caliphate to a fraction of its peak size.
This is a developing story.
The assault on Baghouz is being conducted by the SDF's Kurdish and Arab fighters, backed by US airstrikes and USA advisers. (AP) The US military is reportedly planning to withdraw all US forces from Syria towards the end of April.
Syrian opposition activists say Islamic State militants have attacked USA -backed fighters near an oil field in the country's east, triggering airstrikes by the US -led coalition.
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At its height, the jihadist proto-state proclaimed by IS in Syria and Iraq in June 2014 was roughly the size of Britain.
More than 37,000 people, mostly wives and children of jihadist fighters, have fled IS territory since the SDF intensified its offensive in December, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Two U.S. security sources said the U.S. government's top experts strongly believe IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is still alive and possibly hiding in Iraq.
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.
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