Islamic State launches counter attacks at Syria enclave

Islamic State launches counter attacks at Syria enclave

The president has previously said that US -backed forces have retaken "100%" of the territory once claimed by isis in Syria.

"It hasn't happened formally yet, but they're looking at it", he said, adding that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joe Dunford, is working to set up the force.Bolton insisted there was no contradiction between Trump's assertion that the caliphate declared by the Islamic State group has been eliminated 100 percent, and the assessment of the top U.S. commander in the Middle East, who told Congress last week the fight is "far from over".

SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali said air strikes had killed at least 38 ISIS fighters today with three of his men being lost in counter attacks.

A senior U.S. defense official said in Washington on Friday that it would not be a surprise, based on current conditions, if it took another couple of weeks to finish "mopping up" the Islamic State enclave.

Baghouz was under fire for three nights in a row, killing fighters and prompting the surrender.

Gen. Joseph Votel, the top USA general overseeing military operations in the Middle East, told the House Armed Services Committee last week the fight against ISIS is "far from over" despite their losses in territory.

The exodus has sparked a humanitarian crisis in Kurdish-run camps for the displaced further north, which are struggling to accomodate the mass influx of women and children.

The US-led coalition has been working for years to oust the group from cities and towns.

He said US-backed forces clashed with jihadists on several fronts, killing almost 40 IS fighters.

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The group is still assessed to remain a potent security threat operating in remote territory in both Syria and Iraq.

The SDF announced on Sunday that it would resume operations against terrorists in Baghuz, which remains the last Daesh stronghold in Syria following the evacuation of civilians.

The SDF, which is spearheaded by the Kurdish YPG militia, has been advancing slowly into Baghouz to minimise its losses from sniper fire and landmines.

Amid palm trees and scrubby patches of vegetation, rusting cars stood among the bivouacs made by stringing blankets from rope.

US-backed Syrian forces pounded the last village held by the Islamic State group with artillery and heavy weapons from multiple sides Monday and made slow advances on its edges, battling militants holed up in underground tunnels.

The group has been designated a terrorist organisation by the United Nations and many individual countries.

Obdurate support voiced by many evacuees for ISIS, particularly among foreigners, has posed a complex security, legal, and moral challenge.

Those issues were underscored on Friday with the death of the newborn son of Shamima Begum, a British woman who left to join ISIS when she was a schoolgirl.

'Since the 1st of January 2019, every single day, a child has died fleeing the fight against ISIS, ' UNICEF head Geert Cappelaere told a news conference in Beirut.

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