Islamic State militants are “living their final moments” in the last enclave they hold near the Iraqi border, where U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are attacking them, an SDF official said on Sunday.
A defeat of the jihadists in the enclave would wipe out Islamic State’s territorial foothold on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River.
A spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition said the SDF were making “great progress … but the fight continues”.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a coalition of militias led by the Kurdish YPG, have driven Islamic State from a swathe of northern and eastern Syria with the help of the U.S.-led coalition over the last four years.
Mustafa Bali, SDF media office head, said the SDF had stepped up attacks in the last two days and taken control of the area between the Islamic State enclave and the Iraqi border, cutting an escape route.
“They are living the final moments and realize that this battle is the battle to eliminate them,” he added.
U.S. President Donald Trump last month announced he would withdraw U.S. forces from Syria, declaring they had succeeded in their mission to defeat Islamic State and were no longer needed.
Since then, U.S. officials have given mixed messages. On Friday, the U.S.-led coalition said it had started the pullout, but officials later said only equipment, not troops, were going.