US-backed Kurds launch final push against ISIL in Syria

US-backed and Kurdish-led Syrian forces say they have begun the final push to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group in the last pocket it holds in eastern Syria.

Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) spokesman Mustafa Bali tweeted that the offensive began Saturday after more than 20,000 civilians were evacuated from the ISIL-held area in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour.

Bali says the aim of the current push is to end the military presence of “Daesh terrorists.” He was using an Arabic acronym to refer to the extremists.

US President Donald Trump predicted on Wednesday that ISIL will have lost all the territory it once controlled in Iraq and Syria by next week.

The Kurdish-led SDF launched its offensive to end the ISIL presence in Syria in September, a battle that left hundreds of fighters dead on both sides.

This is a developing story. More soon.