US military aims to withdraw from Syria by April, says report

Cheryl Sanders
February 10, 2019

On Saturday, Kurdish-led forces announced that they had launched a "final push" to eliminate the last Daesh* terrorist pocket in Syria, according to AP.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) "started to move on to the last village remaining under jihadists' control in [northern] Syria", said SDF press officer Mustafa Bali on Saturday evening.

The US military is preparing to withdraw American forces from Syria by the end of April and a significant portion of them will be out by the middle of March, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing current and former US officials.

"Rest assured, we'll do what it takes to defeat every ounce and every last person within the ISIS madness" he said, using another acronym for IS.

President Donald Trump announced in December he was pulling all 2,000 U.S. troops out of Syria, saying the battle against Islamic State there was nearly won.

In recent months, the SDF forces have launched concentrated efforts, backed by airstrikes by the US-led coalition to rout the remaining fighters from the final patch of territory in Syria's eastern province of Deir Ezzor.

This is a developing story. But after almost two weeks of waiting "patiently", they are now due to begin their offensive on the final ISIS territory - which comprises of just two villages near the Iraqi border.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor, said SDF fighters are advancing "cautiously" due to mines planted by IS gunmen.

IS overran large parts of the country and neighbouring Iraq in 2014, declaring a "caliphate" and imposing a severe version of Islamic law, but after various military offensives, only a fragment remains.

Most of the dozen or so attackers were killed and two managed to escape after a battle lasting several hours, during which US airstrikes were called in, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group. According to The Wall Street Journal, the military plans to complete the withdrawal of all USA troops from Syria by the end of April.

The besieged ISIS enclave centred around Baghouz on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River represents the terrorist group's last territorial foothold in the part of Syria where forces supported by the USA have been fighting it.

It said the USA -led coalition struck positions of the IS in the eastern Euphrates to practice more pressure on the group.

Bali did not say how long they expect the battle to last.

The SDF, backed by the USA -led coalition, has driven Islamic State out of a swathe of territory in northern and eastern Syria.

Other reports by iNewsToday