300 Kurdish fighters sent to front lines with IS in eastern Syria ahead of last anti-IS battles

Source: Xinhua| 2019-01-13 01:27:14|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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DAMASCUS, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- About 300 Kurdish fighters were sent to the frontline areas with the Islamic State (IS) militant group in eastern Syria on Saturday, in preparation for the last stage of the anti-IS battles, a war monitor reported.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), backed by the U.S.-coalition, is bracing to eliminate the IS from the last two towns the militant group holds in the eastern Euphrates region in the eastern countryside of Deir al-Zour Province, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The IS is catching its last breath in the eastern Euphrates, the London-based watch added.

The SDF has stripped the IS of key areas in the eastern countryside of Deir al-Zour just after dislodging the militant group from its former de facto capital of Raqqa in 2017.

A total of 16,000 people, including a few hundreds of IS fighters, have so far left the last IS-held pocket in the eastern Euphrates since last month, the watchdog said.

The SDF is pressing with the assault just as the Turkey was sending forces across its border with Syria in what appeared to be a preparation for a battle against the Kurdish group, which Ankara regards as a terrorist organization.

Earlier in the day, the Observatory said the Turkish forces had sent their first convoy of soldiers across the border into Syria.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has previously threatened to fight the Kurdish forces in the eastern Euphrates region.

However, the sudden decision of U.S. President Donald Trump last month to withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria has apparently pushed Ankara to delay its move.

On Friday, the Observatory said the U.S. had started withdrawing military gear from a U.S.-run base in the Rmailan area in Syria's northeastern province of Hasakah.