Daesh suicide bombers thwarted in last-stand battle for Baghouz: SDF

Baghouz is the last shred of populated territory held by Daesh, and the Syrian Democratic Forces has laid siege to Baghouz for weeks. (AP)
Updated 13 March 2019
0

Daesh suicide bombers thwarted in last-stand battle for Baghouz: SDF

  • The Syrian Democratic Forces on Tuesday said the battle for Baghouz was as good as over
  • The enclave is the last shred of populated territory held by the militants

DEIR EZZOR, Syria: The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces said it thwarted an attempted Daesh group suicide bomb attack early on Wednesday during a last-stand battle for the militant group’s final enclave.
The SDF on Tuesday said the battle for Baghouz, a collection of hamlets and farmland near the Iraqi border, was as good as over.
The enclave is the last shred of populated territory held by the militants who have been driven from roughly one third of Iraq and Syria over the past four years.
Mustafa Bali, a spokesman for the SDF media office, said its forces had been bombarding Baghouz heavily overnight before engaging in direct clashes with Daesh fighters from 4 a.m. to 6 a.m.
Live footage broadcast by the Kurdish Ronahi TV overnight showed a series of large explosions lighting up the night sky over Baghouz.
“There were suicide vest attacks by a group of bombers who tried to blow themselves up amidst our forces. Our forces targeted and killed them before they reached our positions,” Bali said.
The SDF has laid siege to Baghouz for weeks but had repeatedly postponed its final assault to allow thousands of civilians, many of them wives and children of Daesh fighters, to leave. It resumed the attack on Sunday.
Around 3,000 fighters and their families surrendered to SDF forces in 24 hours, Bali said overnight. Three women and four children belonging to the Yazidi sect, a minority group who were kidnapped and enslaved by Daesh in 2014, were also freed, he said.
While Baghouz is the last populated territory of what was once the group’s self-proclaimed “caliphate,” fighters still operate in remote areas elsewhere.
The group put out a new propaganda video overnight Monday filmed in recent weeks inside Baghouz, insisting on its claim to leadership of all Muslims and calling on its supporters to keep the faith.
“Tomorrow, God willing, we will be in paradise and they will be burning in hell,” one of the men interviewed in the video said.


Iranian FM lands in Baghdad for talks with Iraqi counterpart

Updated 25 May 2019
0

Iranian FM lands in Baghdad for talks with Iraqi counterpart

  • During his his two-day visit, Zarif will also meet the Iraqi president and Iraqi prime minister
  • Discussions will mainly focus on the current crisis and its impacts on the two countries

BAGHDAD: Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif landed in Baghdad on Saturday for talks with his Iraqi counterpart, an Arab News reporter confirmed.

During his his two-day visit, Zarif will also meet the Iraqi president and Iraqi prime minister. On Sunday morning, Zarif will meet several senior politicians before he heads to Najaf to meet some clerics, sources told Arab News.

The discussions will mainly focus on the current crisis and its impacts on the two countries in addition to possible options to reinforce the attempts to start dialogues with the related sides to reach a compromise or solutions for the current standoff between Iran and US.

The Iranian official will leave Iraq on Monday.

More to follow...