The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have finally resumed its attack on the last ISIS stronghold in the middle Euphrates River Valley.
“After evacuation of thousands of civilians and our comrades who held hostage in al-Baghuz [al-Fawqani], operation to clear the last remaining pocket of ISIS has just started at 18:00 this evening,” a spokesman for the SDF, Mustafa Balai, said on March 1.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), the Kurdish-dominated group has evacuated more than 52,000 civilians from the ISIS-held pocket since last December. The last groups of civilians left the pocket a few hours before the resumption of the military operation.
Earlier, warplanes of the US-led coalition carried out a series of airstrikes on gatherings of ISIS fighters north of al-Baghuz al-Fawqani. Coalition attack helicopters were also seen flying over the Euphrates Valley.
The US-led coalition’s support for the final attack on ISIS will not be limited to airstrike. A recent report by the Guardian revealed that US, UK and French special forces will take part in the attack side by side with SDF fighters.
The number of the remaining ISIS fighters north of al-Baghuz al-Fawqani is reportedly less than 300. However, these fighters are well-experienced, heavily-armed and willing to fight until death. This could become a challenge for US-backed forces.
More on this topic:
- US-Backed Forces Evacuate More People From ISIS Last Stronghold As Coalition Warplanes Resume Airstrikes (Video)