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US-backed Syrian force deny reports of IS defeat

The SDF is clearing the IS camp in Baghouz [Getty]

Date of publication: 21 March, 2019

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The fight to retake the Syrian village of Baghouz is still ongoing, the SDF have said.
Syrian Democratic Forces have denied reports that the last Islamic State group redoubt in the country has fallen, saying the battle to take Baghouz is ongoing.

It comes after the US-backed group said it had cleared an encampment in the eastern Syrian town of Baghouz of IS fighters, but other parts of the village remain occupied by the militants, an SDF media official said, according to Reuters.

"Combing continues in the Baghouz camp... There is no truth (to the report of) the complete liberation of the village."

A Kurdish website reported this week that Baghouz had fallen to the SDF, although the report was later removed from the site.

President Donald Trump followed on Wednesday by claiming the IS eastern Syrian enclave would fall overnight, which proved to be not true.

Thousands of IS fighters and civilians have left the enclave over the past weeks, with the SDF announcing on Tuesday that an encampment in Baghouz was now under its control. 

"This is not a victory announcement, but a significant progress in the fight against Daesh [IS]," SDF spokesman Mustefa Bali said.

Trump also announced on Wednesday that the US would be keeping 400 troops in Syria, including 200 "close to Syria".

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