BEIRUT, Feb 10 (AFP): US-backed forces were locked in fierce fighting as they pressed the battle against the last shred of the Islamic State group's "caliphate" in eastern Syria on Sunday, a war monitor said.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), supported by a US-led coalition, announced a final push to retake the jihadist pocket near the Iraqi border late Saturday, after a pause of more than a week to allow civilians to flee.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported heavy clashes between both sides on Sunday morning, as coalition planes and artillery bombarded jihadist positions.
"The battle is ongoing. There were heavy clashes this morning, with landmines going off," said Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Britain-based war monitor.
The SDF launched an offensive to expel IS from the eastern province of Deir Ezzor in September.
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