US-backed forces close to uproot Daesh from Deir Ezzor province

Kurdish-led forces, backed by air strikes of the US-led coalition, have been so close to uproot Daesh (ISIS) from the eastern province of Deir Ezzor as the militants besieged in tiny enclave in Baghouz village, activists said Friday.
The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have seized control of most of the village of Baghouz al-Fouqani, activist Adel Obeid told Zaman al-Wasl.
Daesh jihadists are still controlling few buildings in the village, but their defeat is imminent, according to the activist.
The SDF have been battling since September to expel the jihadists from their enclave.
During the week, about 5,000 people, including almost 500 Islamic State fighters, have since Monday left the jihadist group’s last bastion in eastern Syria, where IS continues to lose ground, a Britain-based monitor said.
“Around 4,900 people, mostly women and children but including 470 jihadists, have since Monday deserted the last ISIS pocket in the Deir Ezzor, including 3,500 that left the area.
The majority of the civilians are family members of jihadists, the Observatory said.
They were evacuated on dozens of trucks chartered by the SDF.
In recent weeks the SDF has seized several eastern villages from IS, including Hajin, Al-Shaafa and Sousa.
Islamic State is now confined to just 10 square kilometres (four square miles) in Deir Ezzor, the Observatory said.
The new wave of departures means that nearly 27,000 people have left former ISIS areas since early December, including almost 1,800 jihadists who have surrendered, the Observatory said.
ISIS overran large parts of Syria and neighbouring Iraq in 2014, proclaiming a “caliphate” in areas under their control.
But they have since lost most of that to various offensives in both countries.

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