Kurdish-led forces in E. Syria preparing for push on ‘last ISIS pocket’

Kurdish-led forces in eastern Syria prepared on Friday for a push on the last remaining speck of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) group’s “caliphate.” Four years ago, IS controlled territory the size of Britain and administered millions of people. The deputy commander of the US-led coalition fighting the group, Major General Christopher Ghika, described the size of the last IS pocket as “now less than one percent of the original caliphate.” The coalition has been training and providing air support to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which launched an offensive on the last pocket of jihadist territory in September 2018. Two months later, they took Hajin, the last town under IS control and left the jihadists fighting over a few scattered hamlets in the Euphrates Valley. “Currently, the SDF is advancing very cautiously to ensure the safety of civilians that ISIS is using as human shields,” an SDF spokesman told AFP on Friday.