The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), supported by US air attacks, have successfully overtaken the terror group, which gained control of large swaths of northeastern Syria in 2014, NPR's Lama Al-Arian reports for our Newscast unit.
However, Ankara says progress in the Manbij deal has been "sluggish" and slower than initially planned, due to what has been described as the disingenuous attitude of the U.S. Yet, officials of the two countries have geared up talks since President Trump's announcement of withdrawal in December 2018.
"We have special units whose job it is to direct civilians to corridors they can cross" to safety, he said.
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.
The head of the SDF media office, Mustafa Bali, told Reuters that the main battle will be launched on the evening of February 9 and its mission will be to eliminate the last remnants of "the terrorist organization". "We don't think he is in the town now", said an SDF commander who goes by the alias Adnan Afrini.
The U.S. -led coalition has said it is not discussing the timeline of the U.S. withdrawal from Syria.
The Observatory said that since the SDF began its offensive against IS in the area on September 10, some 1,279 IS gunmen and 678 SDF fighters have been killed.
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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.
ISIL still retains a presence in Syria's vast Badia desert and has claimed a series of deadly attacks by sleeper cells in SDF-held areas.
The assault on Baghouz is being conducted by the SDF's Kurdish and Arab fighters, backed by US airstrikes and USA advisers.
A USA official confirmed that target date to Reuters, saying the withdrawal included a pull-out from the US military base at Tanf, near the Syrian border with Iraq and Jordan.
He said that when the SDF detects movement from IS fighters, they bomb them, but added: "There have not been any major changes".
Votel said he did not believe the United States would broadly increase overall troop numbers in Iraq.
Bali said 400 to 600 jihadists were estimated to be holed up in the enclave, including foreigners and other hardened fighters.
The Kurds have largely stayed out of Syria's almost eight-year civil war, instead building their own semi-autonomous institutions in the northeast of the country.