OMAR OIL FIELD (Kurdistan 24) – The general commander of the operation by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to eliminate the Islamic State in eastern Syria on Saturday confirmed the fall of the extremist group in the East Euphrates and said victory would be announced in a few days.
“Da’esh [ISIS] has fallen militarily and their militants are under fire from our fighters in a small space of about 600 square meters,” Chiya Firat, the general commander of the operation launched to defeat the Islamic State in the East Euphrates, told reporters at the Omar Field SDF military base in Deir al-Zor governorate.
Firat added that the SDF fighters slowed down their fight to save the civilians stranded in the outskirts of Baghuz Fawqani village.
“Ending Da’esh in Baghuz does not mean its end in the region because our forces will have another operation against their remaining sleeper cells,” he said.
Regarding the situation at the front line in Baghuz, Spokesperson for the US-led coalition Col. Sean Ryan told Kurdistan 24 on Saturday that the fight against the Islamic State in the Middle Euphrates River Valley continues.
“There has been some lapses in the battle as we continue to see hundreds of civilians still attempting to flee to safety,” Ryan stated.
“Civilians who have escaped are reporting ISIS is using them as human shields and killing innocent civilians in order to intimidate others from trying to leave.”
Ryan added that airstrikes had reduced to help protect the civilians and due to battlefield conditions.
“In addition, the area of Baghuz has many tunnels, which slows operations, as the Syrian Democratic Forces have to clear the areas from IED’s and still watch out for ISIS fighters detonating suicide vests, and attacking positions with explosive-laden cars and motorcycles,” he said.
Last week, an influx of about 1,400 people, including dozens of Islamic State militants, hundreds of their families, and some civilians, arrived in the SDF-controlled areas through a corridor the SDF opened in the eastern outskirts of Baghuz village.
There are still hundreds of Islamic State militants, and their families in some fields around Baghuz village as clashes are ongoing there along with new arrivals of fighters and civilians.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany
(Additional reporting by Wladimir van Wilgenburg)