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US-backed fighters close in on last IS-held village in Syria

AP  |  Beirut 

The US-backed Syrian forces captured 41 positions held by Islamic State group militants and destroyed their fortifications in the last tiny pocket they hold in eastern amid fierce fighting, a said Sunday.

said the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces made the advances overnight and on Sunday, hours after they launched a final push to clear the area from IS militants Saturday night.

The final battle to clear the village of is now playing out after 20,000 civilians were evacuated from the area in the eastern province of over the past few weeks.

Bali said heavy fighting was going on inside on Sunday, adding that an IS counterattack was foiled early in the day. He did not say how long the battle was expected to last.

The US-led coalition warplanes are giving cover to advancing fighters.

US predicted Wednesday that the Islamic State group will lose by next week all the territory it once controlled in and

That would mark the end of a four-year global war to end the extremist group's territorial hold over large parts of and where the group established its self-proclaimed "caliphate" in 2014.

The US officials have said in recent weeks that IS has lost 99.5 per cent of its territory and is holding onto fewer than 5 square kilometers in Syria, or less than 2 square miles, where the bulk of the fighters are concentrated.

But activists and residents say IS still has sleeper cells in Syria and Iraq, and is laying the groundwork for an insurgency.

The has warned the group could stage a comeback if the military and counter-terrorism pressure on it is eased.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, February 10 2019. 22:05 IST