US-backed fighters close in on last IS-held village in Syria

BEIRUT (AP) _ A spokesman for U.S.-backed Syrian forces says they have captured 41 positions held by Islamic State group militants and destroyed their fortifications in the last tiny pocket they hold in eastern Syria.

Mustafa Bali, spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, says advances were made overnight and on Sunday. The SDF launched a final push to clear the area from IS militants Saturday night after 20,000 civilians were evacuated from the area in the eastern province of Deir-el-Zour.

Bali said heavy fighting was going on inside the village of Baghouz on Sunday. He did not say how long they expect the battle to last.

U.S. President Donald Trump predicted Wednesday that the Islamic State group will lose by next week all the territory it once controlled in Iraq and Syria.

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