US-backed forces in Syria say ISIS is in 'final moments'

US-backed forces in Syria say ISIS is in 'final moments'
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An official with the U.S.-backed coalition of fighters in Syria said Sunday that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is in its "final moments," Reuters reported.

Mustafa Bali, the head of the media office for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), reportedly said the SDF is attacking one of the terrorist group's last major strongholds near the Iraqi border. 

“They are living the final moments and realize that this battle is the battle to eliminate them,” Bali said.

Col. Sean Ryan, a spokesman for the U.S. coalition in the country, told Reuters in a statement that the SDF is "making great progress" and continues to liberate territory once held by ISIS, "but the fight continues."


The optimism from the SDF comes as the Trump administration has said it will withdraw U.S. forces from Syria.

President TrumpDonald John Trump Former US ambassador: 'Denmark is not a big fan of Donald Trump and his politics' Senate Democrats push for arms control language in defense policy bill Detroit county sheriff endorses Booker for president MORE announced in December that U.S. troops would be "coming back now" and that ISIS had been defeated. The announcement led to the resignation of former Defense Secretary James Mattis.

The administration has since put conditions on a full withdrawal of troops, including the total defeat of ISIS and assurances from Turkey that it will not target U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters in Syria.

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoChina threatens to sanction US firms over sales of F-16s to Taiwan Trump moves forward with billion F-16 sale to Taiwan Trump says he'll decide on foreign aid cuts within a week MORE on Sunday downplayed the impact of any shift in strategy, calling it a "tactical change" that does not affect the U.S. missions in the region.

A spokesman for U.S. coalition forces said last Friday that the U.S. “has begun the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria. Out of concern for operational security, we will not discuss specific timelines, locations or troop movements."