DAYR AL-ZAWR (Dispatches) – The so-called Syrian Democratic Forces said it thwarted an attempted bomb attack by Daesh early on Wednesday during a last-stand battle for the terrorist group’s final enclave.
The SDF 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 terrorists 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 terrorists from 4-6 am (0200-0400 GMT).
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 terrorists, to leave. It resumed the attack on Sunday.
Around 3,000 terrorists and their families surrendered to SDF forces in 24 hours, Bali said overnight. Three women and four children belonging to the Izadi 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”, terrorists still operate in remote areas elsewhere.