On the frontline of battle to clear IS group's last Syrian enclave
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Military operations against the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria are wrapping up and the last pockets of the jihadists' self-proclaimed "caliphate" will be flushed out within a month, commanders of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said Friday. FRANCE 24's James André sent us this report from the frontline of the battle against the IS group.
The SDF, who launched a major offensive last September to remove the militants from their last pocket, were at first bogged down by fierce resistance, but advanced last month when they finally took the town of Hajin, the main urban stronghold in the enclave.
The Kurdish-led forces now have only a seven-kilometre stretch that separates them from full control of the entire east of the Euphrates River region, former residents and insurgents from the area say.
The IS group lost nearly all the territory it once held in Syria last year in separate offensives by the US-backed SDF and the Russian-backed Syrian army.
The conquest of the last pocket near the Iraqi border marks a major blow, leaving the militants scattered in sparsely populated desert areas in eastern Syria.
But experts warn that the hardline militants are now seeking to compensate for the loss of territory by expanding hit-and-run assassinations and attacks on checkpoints.