Daesh loses ground in final Syria enclave, hundreds surrender

A statement from the SDF said 15 members of Daesh had been killed after they tried to attack its troops. (File/AFP)
Updated 14 March 2019
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Daesh loses ground in final Syria enclave, hundreds surrender

  • “Our fighters advanced deep into areas controlled by the terrorist organization and established a number of new points,” SDF said
  • The push follows clashes and air strikes by the US-led coalition

BAGHOUZ: Daesh militants accompanied by relatives surrendered to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) by the hundreds on Thursday as the extremists lost ground to a US-backed assault aimed seizing the last shred of Daesh territory, the SDF said.
Many of the men were limping as they crossed out of the enclave at Baghouz along a dirt path over a rocky hill, accompanied by weeping children and fully veiled women, dragging suitcases and backpacks behind them, a Reuters journalist said.
SDF fighters said many of them were foreign fighters.
Daesh insurgents have been mounting a desperate last-stand defence of the enclave at Baghouz, the final patch of the group's territory that once spanned a third of Iraq and Syria and which has been besieged by the SDF for weeks.
The terrorists had sought to counter-attack three times in two days, the SDF said, deploying more than 20 suicide bombers.
In a statement, the SDF said its fighters had made progress into the remaining Daesh-held part of the enclave in eastern Syrian near the Iraqi border. It said 15 Daesh members had been killed on Thursday morning after they tried to attack SDF troops.
"Our fighters thwarted all of the terrorist organisation's attempts to achieve any progress."
The enclave was being pounded with artillery fire as war planes flew overhead on Thursday. The SDF said it had confirmed 112 Daesh fighters had been killed since it resumed the assault to capture Baghouz earlier this week.
The SDF said earlier this week the battle for Baghouz - a collection of hamlets and farmland - was as good as over.
No Daesh leaders are believed to be in Baghouz, according to a US defence official. US government experts strongly believe Baghdadi is alive and possibly hiding in Iraq.
The group is still assessed to remain a potent security threat operating in remote territory in both Syria and Iraq.
 

 


Iranian FM in Baghdad for talks with Iraqi counterpart as part of regional tour

Updated 11 min 28 sec ago
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Iranian FM in Baghdad for talks with Iraqi counterpart as part of regional tour

  • 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. Zarif's tour will also include trips to Turkey, India and Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Iran's deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi will begin a separate tour on Sunday which will see him visit Qatar, Oman and Kuwait, according to Iranian news sources.