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SDF ready for push on final Daesh pocket

10 February 2019

Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was reportedly attacked in a village near Hajin by some of the terrorist organisation's foreign fighters in an apparent coup attempt, The Guardian reported, citing anonymous intelligence sources.

After driving the jihadists from their Syrian headquarters at Raqqa in October 2017, the SDF advanced southwards into Deir al-Zor province, attacking the jihadists in the territory on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River.

Mustafa Bali, the head of the SDF media office, described the assault as the "last battle".

An official from the Syrian Democratic Forces, the US-backed alliance which is spearheaded by the YPG, told Reuters: "What we know is that so far there is no withdrawal, and the situation on the ground is unchanged".

"We are seeking a political solution in Syria, which requires an agreement with the government in Damascus".

Speaking at the State Department on Wednesday, Mr Trump said that US-led troops and their Kurdish allies should formally announce the end of the "caliphate" some time next week.

"Remnants - that's all they have, remnants - but remnants can be very unsafe", Trump said.

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On Thursday, the coalition said the "caliphate" had massively shrunk.

Spearheaded by the Kurdish YPG militia, the SDF has been the main USA partner in Syria and has driven Islamic State out of a swathe of the north and east over the last four years. But activists and residents say Isis still has sleeper cells in Syria and Iraq, and is laying the groundwork for an insurgency.

The conservative chancellor said monitoring events in Syria was one of the BND's top priorities, which also include tracking cyber threats and fake news created to influence democratic elections.

The president's sudden decision surprised many in his own administration as well as coalition allies such as Turkey and an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias that fought Islamic State with USA military support. It said US-led coalition's warplanes are giving cover to advancing SDF fighters.

Suspected jihadists captured by the SDF are usually eager to be sent home, something the Kurdish administration also wants.

But Kurdish officials told AFP on Friday there had been no progress on reaching a deal with Paris.

SDF ready for push on final Daesh pocket