Syria: SDF militia predicts ISIL's last fight to end imminently

Baghouz SDF says 2,000 ISIS fighters families surrender as offensive continues

Islamic State militants mounted two counterattacks on Wednesday against USA -backed Syrian forces that are on the brink of capturing the jihadists' final enclave in eastern Syria, but made no progress and were stopped, the US -backed Syrian force said, Reuters reported.The second attack, launched in the afternoon, was "much stronger" than the first, the media office of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said in a note circulated to journalists."They took advantage of smoke and dust over Baghouz", it said. "(The caliphate) still has leaders, still has fighters, it still has facilitators, it still has resources, so our continued military pressure is necessary to continue to go after that network".

The Syrian Democratic Forces renewed their offensive against the jihadists on March 1 after a weeks-long pause to empty the bombed-out bastion of non-combattants. The militants "attempted to carry out suicide attacks but failed", the SDF said, adding that there were no casualties.

SDF official Mustafa Bali said on Twitter on Tuesday that the number of Islamic State members who had surrendered has risen to 3,000.

Bolton said on ABC's "This Week" that Trump had been "as clear as clear can be" when speaking about progress made defeating the Islamic State Caliphate, or the territory held by the group in Iraq and Syria.

IS once ruled over millions in a swath of Syria and Iraq, but it has since lost all that territory except for a riverside slither in the village of Baghouz near the Iraqi border.

ISIS declared itself a caliphate in 2014, as it once spread across large areas in Syria and Iraq.

Islamic State was still putting up resistance with weapons including vehicle bombs.

A CNN team in Syria witnessed intense shelling of the town throughout Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning, but so far the SDF have resisted providing details as to how they expect the remaining ISIS fighter to hold out.

The official said jihadists were using suicide bombers but his force intercepted them before they reached their target.

The group still operates in remote territory elsewhere and it is widely assessed that it will continue to represent a potent security threat. "It hasn't happened formally yet, but they're looking at it", he said, and declaring that the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford is working to set up the force.

The US-led coalition said it was continuing strikes against IS positions "day and night", allowing the militants no freedom of movement.

Islamic State put out a new propaganda video overnight Monday filmed in recent weeks inside Baghouz, maintaining its claim to leadership of all Muslims and calling on its supporters to keep the faith.

"Tomorrow, God willing, we will be in paradise and they will be burning in hell", it showed an ISIL member identified as Abu Abd al-Azeem as saying.

The jihadists have continued to claim deadly attacks in SDF-held territory in recent months, and the USA military has warned of the need to maintain a "vigilant offensive".

Overnight, government forces rained incendiary bombs on the area, where a full-scale offensive was averted in September by an agreement brokered by Assad's Russian allies and Turkey, which backs his opponents and has forces on the ground.



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