U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have been engaged in heavy clashes in opposition to Islamic State as they sought to clear the final enclave the militant group controls in japanese Syria.

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Mustafa Bali, an SDF spokesman, tweeted Saturday, “#SDF began to maneuver on to the final village remaining underneath jihadists’ management. … Village of Baghuz, which is the one remaining #ISIS pocket, will probably be cleared quickly.”

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“There are heavy clashes in the mean time. Now we have launched an assault and the fighters are advancing,” an SDF area commander informed AFP Sunday.

The SDF, backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, is combating IS in a 4-square-kilometer space that features Baghuz and is close to the Iraqi border.

SDF officers and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimated there have been about 3,000 battle-hardened IS jihadists, largely foreigners, within the area. The observatory additionally estimated a number of hundred civilians remained within the space as nicely.

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Greater than 23,000 Syrian civilians and overseas nationals fled japanese Syria this previous week because the SDF, which incorporates Kurdish YPG militia fighters, ready to maneuver on IS in Deir el-Zour governorate, in keeping with native officers and activists.

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The displaced residents, largely girls and youngsters, have been positioned within the Kurdish al-Hol camp in al-Hasakah governorate, in northeast Syria.

The administrator of the camp, Nabil Hassan, informed VOA that lots of the girls and youngsters from the brand new wave of displacement this week have been overseas nationals and relations of IS.

SDF started an operation in September to rid Deir el-Zour of IS militants. The U.S.-backed fighters’ advance has been slowed by fierce combating from the IS militants.

The civil warfare that has engulfed Syria started with Arab Spring protests in 2011. The United Nations estimates greater than 400,000 Syrians have died since combating started in 2011. Greater than 6 million Syrians have been displaced internally and about 5 million have sought refuge outdoors the nation, with Turkey internet hosting almost 3.5 million of them, in keeping with the Brookings Establishment.

Rikar Hussein contributed to this report.

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