Commanders of the Kurdish-led fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces said fierce clashes were taking place as they advance toward the last speck of land controlled by the Islamic State group, in the village of Baghouz. The militants fought back with snipers, suicide bombs and booby traps.
Fires still smoldered from the area and ammunition exploded time and again, a day after an airstrike hit a building, setting off a huge blast, which SDF officers believe was amain weapons depot.
The SDF forces resumed an offensive to recapture the tiny area in the village of Baghouz in eastern Syria on Friday night, after a two-week pause to allow for the evacuation of civilians from the area. Retaking the sliver of land would be a milestone in the devastating four-year campaign to end ISIS’ self-proclaimed Islamic caliphate that once straddled vast territory across Syria and Iraq.
However, the group continues to be a threat, with sleeper cells in scattered desert pockets along the porous border between the two countries.
A few hundred ISIS militants, many of them believed to be foreign fighters, remain holed up inside Baghouz, with an unknown number of civilians.