Thousands of civilians have fled fighting in the last village held by IS militants
US-backed fighters in Syria say they are meeting fierce resistance as they attack the last enclave held by Islamic State (IS) militants in the country.
A spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) told the AP news agency “the most experienced” jihadists are defending their last stronghold.
Two years ago IS controlled large areas of Syria and Iraq.
But they are now confined to a tiny pocket in Syria’s eastern province of Deir al-Zour, near the Iraqi border.
On Saturday, after a pause of more than a week to allow some 20,000 civilians to leave the area, SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali said the group was launching the “final battle to crush IS” in the border village of Baghuz.
Overnight he told the Associated Press (AP): “The battle is very fierce. Those remaining inside are the most experienced who are defending their last stronghold. According to this you can imagine the ferocity and size of the fighting.