IS launch another bloody counterattack in eastern Syria

IS launch another bloody counterattack in eastern Syria
Dozens have been killed in a failed IS counterattack in eastern Syria.
2 min read
24 January, 2019
Syrian Democratic Forces have been targeted by IS suicide bombers [Getty]
Dozens have been killed in another failed counterattack by the Islamic State group in eastern Syria on Thursday, as the militants try to win back the last tracts of land taken by Kurdish-led militias.

IS launched the attack on the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) positions with three suicide bombers, as the militants attempted to re-take the village of Baghouz, close to the Iraqi border, captured by Kurdish-Arab fighters a day earlier.

Sixteen SDF fighters and 34 IS militants were killed in the battle, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

"Twenty-one IS fighters were taken prisoner as they tried to open up a gap" in defences and make an escape towards Iraq, Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.

It comes as the SDF took the last village occupied by IS in eastern Syria on Wednesday, with the jihadis holding on to some farmhouses in remote areas of the Euphrates Valley area.

The group's last stand comes amid unconfirmed reports from SDF sources that IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was captured. There has been no further information since the information came out on Wednesday and most Syria analysts are sceptical about the claim.

A number of foreign fighters have been captured by the SDF over the past weeks, while civilians have fled to areas controlled by the Kurdish-Arab militia.

IS controlled much of eastern and northern Syria - along with northern and western Iraq - following the establishment of the group's self-declared "caliphate" in 2014.

The group have lost their territories in Iraq following Iraqi government and Kurdish counterattacks, while a US-backed Syrian Kurdish and Arab assault in Syria has seen the group nearly defeated there.