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The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fired on ISIS terrorists on February 8 ahead of a planned assault on the terrorists' last enclave on February 9 in the part of Syria where a USA -backed coalition has been supporting operations against the group.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), with help from United States and British special forces, have made the advances over the weekend and are continuing today.

An Italian photographer was wounded in the clashes between the USA -backed Syrian Democratic Forces and the militants holed up in the village of Baghouz, near the border with Iraq, an Italian news agency said.

Many of those fighters are believed to be foreigners who traveled to Syria to join the terror group and have been unable to escape as they have been unable to blend in with the local population.

The YPG fighter, who did not wish to be named, said spotting ISIS militants hidden among the thousands of fleeing civilians is proving hard.

Mustafa Bali, an SDF spokesman, tweeted that SDF forces had destroyed fortifications in the Village of Baghuz, but that heavy fighting continued.

A total of three civilians were killed Saturday by a US -led airstrike on the Islamic State (IS)-held area in eastern Syria, state news agency SANA reported.

Before the assault began, civilians fled the town.

About 20,000 civilians have been evacuated from the area in the eastern province of Deir-el-Zour over the past few weeks to clear the way for a holds barred onslaught.

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Bali said there were "dozens of SDF hostages" captured by ISIL.

IS controlled much of eastern Syria and northern, western Iraq from 2014 until their near defeat over the past two years by US-backed forces.

D'Agata has seen the fighting from eastern Syria, even being forced to run from ISIS bombs just last week.

On Monday, the Observatory said 13 IS militants, including five suicide attackers, were killed as well as six SDF fighters.

"But in the context of military operations, I think the characterization of progress within Syria has been that they have been decimated and that we're making significant progress" in the Middle Euphrates River Valley, Shanahan said.

Trump's surprise announcement in December that he was withdrawing American troops from Syria helped trigger the resignation of his defense secretary, Jim Mattis, and sent U.S. military officials scrambling to construct a withdrawal plan that preserves as many gains as possible.

The statement gave no indication of how long it could take to capture Baghouz, but President Donald Trump said last week he had been told that the full territorial conquest of the Islamic State could be completed in the coming week.

However, he emphasised the group would continue to operate in Iraq by setting up sleeper cells.

But while U.S. military officials are planning for the next phase of the ISIS fight, including what to do about the thousands of dispersed fighters, Votel highlighted that the battle for the terror group's last redoubt in Syria will be a challenging one.


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