So-called SDF fighters backed up by artillery fire from a US-led coalition pressed their assault Monday to retake a last morsel of territory from ISIL, a monitoring group said.
More than four years after the Takfiri extremists declared a “caliphate” across large parts of Syria and neighboring Iraq, several offensives have whittled that ‘caliphate’ down to a tiny holdout.
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Saturday announced the final push to expel hundreds of diehard militants from that patch in eastern Syria on the Iraq border.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, said the alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters was pressing on Monday in the face of tough obstacles.
“The SDF are advancing slowly in what remains of the Islamic State pocket,” Observatory chief Rami Abdel-Rahman said.
But landmines, ISIL snipers, and tunnels the extremists have dug out for their defense are hindering the advance, he said.
SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali said there were “dozens of SDF hostages held by Islamic State” inside their last foothold, but denied reports of executions.