IS launch desperate counter-attack on US-backed forces in besieged Syrian enclave

IS launch desperate counter-attack on US-backed forces in besieged Syrian enclave
IS launched a series of counter-attacks Syrian Democratic Forces positions in eastern Syria.
2 min read
14 March, 2019
SDF fighters have resumed their offensive on Baghouz [Getty]

Besieged Islamic State group fighters launched a last-ditch attempt to stave off defeat in their last Syrian enclave early Thursday, with a series of counter-attacks on US-backed forces.

IS fighters launched an attack from two sides in Baghouz, a hamlet in eastern Syria which is surrounded by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning.

"They attacked on two axes, from the Euphrates River, and from the hill," an SDF commander who gave his name as Sheikh al-Jabal told AFP.

The attacks were made under cover from smoke and dust kicked up by attacks from a US-led coalition on IS fighters in the camp-village of Baghouz, SDF media official Chiager Amed told Reuters.

SDF forces advanced deeper into Baghouz once the IS counter-attacks were thwarted, which left 15 jihadi fighters dead.

"Our fighters advanced deep into areas controlled by the terrorist organisation and established a number of new points, following clashes in which terrorists sustained a number of deaths and injuries," he added.

Earlier, thousands of IS fighters and civilians surrendered to SDF forces, after the US-backed force's offensive on Baghouz resumed on Sunday.

IS once occupied territory roughly the size of the UK in Syria and Iraq, until US-backed offensives pushed the jihadhi group's territory to a small sliver of land along the Euphrates River.

Die-hard IS fighters are putting up a last-ditch defence of Baghouz, but the defeat of the group is expected to take place in the coming hours or days.

Agencies contributed to this story.