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 TrumpTrump defends Stephanopolous interview Trump defends Stephanopolous interview Buttigieg on offers of foreign intel: 'Just call the FBI' 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 PompeoUS-Iran tensions rise: Five things to know about oil tanker attack US-Iran tensions rise: Five things to know about oil tanker attack The US must do its part in closing the largest outdoor prison in the world 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."