The Kurdish-led forces in Syria have said 38 ISIS fighters have been killed in a US-backed offensive against the group’s final enclave after the area saw heavy bombardments overnight.
Three Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters were also killed in the battle, Mustafa Bali, the head of the SDF media office, said in a post on Twitter.
The members of the SDF moved towards a tent encampment in the village of Baghouz and at one point encircled a group of ISIL fighters, killing a number of them in an hour-long battle, Bali said.
After weeks of besieging Baghouz, the operation launched on Sunday night aimed at finally taking the last tiny patch of land held by ISIS, a pocket on the banks of the Euphrates River in eastern Syria near the border with Iraq.
The operation against ISIS “will continue until we totally wipe them out”, the SDF vowed in a statement on Monday, saying they had made “tangible progress”.
About 500 ISIS fighters are believed to be holed up in the territory, along with possibly 3,000 to 4,000 civilians, including women and children – mainly family members who remained after thousands of civilians streamed out of Baghouz in the past weeks during pauses in the fighting.