In the wake of the pursuit by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to drive out the last Isis group from their hideouts, the SDF are poised to attack the enclave, once civilians still inside have been evacuated, an SDF official said.
The Isis enclave is centred around Baghouz on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River, and is the last holding of the jihadist group, and their last territorial foothold in Syria, where the US-backed forces have been fighting it.
Media spokesman for the SDF, Mustafa Bali, did not indicate how soon he expected the civilian evacuation to be completed, as most of the civilians are family members of Isis fighters.
"There is of course a safe corridor and civilians are coming out daily, and this reduces their number in Baghouz until we can be sure the town is free of civilians.”
"We will launch an attack to end the Isis presence or they will turn themselves in. There are no other options for them. We confirm there are no negotiations and no intention to have negotiations," Bali said late on Friday February 8th.
The U S said on January 29th that Isis was expected to lose its final area of territory within a couple of weeks.
Meanwhile, the SDF have defeated Isis across a swathe of northern and eastern Syria.
After driving the jihadists from their Syrian headquarters at Raqqa in October 2017, the SDF advanced southwards into Deir al-Zor province, attacking the jihadists in their territory on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River.
However Isis still has a territorial foothold in Syria, west of the Euphrates, in areas otherwise nominally held by the Syrian government and its allies.