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Coalition hunts down remaining 'Islamic State' fighters in Syria

AFP

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A US F-16 fighter jet supports operations over Syria. [CENTCOM]

BEIRUT, Lebanon -- A US-backed force said Tuesday (April 2) it was chasing "Islamic State" (IS) fighters in eastern Syria as coalition warplanes pound the militants more than a week after their so-called "caliphate" was declared defeated.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), supported by warplanes of the US-led coalition, dislodged IS members from their last redoubt in the village of Baghouz near the Iraqi border on March 23, following a months-long offensive.

The US-backed alliance is now "tracking down remnants of the terrorist group", SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali said Tuesday.

"There are groups hiding in caves overlooking Baghouz," he said.

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'Islamic State' fighters surrender in Baghouz, Syria, to the SDF March 7. [Mohammed Hassan/Twitter]

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A member of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) plants an SDF flag in Baghouz village, Deir Ezzor Province, March 24. [Delil Souleiman/AFP]

The military actions come after the US-led international coalition March 23 pronounced the death of IS's "caliphate" after flushing out diehard fighters from their final bastion in eastern Syria.

The SDF's victory capped a deadly six-month operation against the terrorist group's territory, which once stretched across a vast swathe of Iraq and Syria and held seven million people in its sway.

The so-called "caliphate", which leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed in mid-2014, once covered territory larger than Britain, straddling Syria and Iraq.

Air strikes pound hideouts

The US-led coalition said it was supporting sweeping operations with air strikes on jihadist hideouts.

"The Syrian Democratic Forces continues to deny [IS] a physical space and influence in the area and works to deny them the resources they need to return," coalition spokesman Scott Rawlinson told AFP on Monday (April 1).

"In support of back-clearance operations, the coalition continues to conduct precision strike support in co-ordination with SDF," he said.

Anti-IS operations are now focusing on "eroding" the group's "capacity to regenerate and collaborate", said Rawlinson.

More than a dozen coalition air strikes have targeted IS hideouts in Baghouz since Sunday (March 31), said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor.

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I do not wish to stay in this web site any longer. I came here by mistake. I am sick of false information. To the correspondents you better of dead instead of being sold to USA and make Uzbekistan its next vassal

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That's just blabbering about [the success] of the US. If not for the Russian military strikes, there would be a "zero" result, but now the USA takes credit for that. They [Americans] just made things worse and bombed civilians indiscriminately. Democrats at their best.

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Bollocks... They - the coalition or whatever, the "allies" during WW2 - claim that they defeated Nazi Germany... This is obviously a habit of theirs - taking credit for someone else's achievements and then shouting their mightiness from the rooftops... You can't use someone's hard work to your own advantage...

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