US 'optimistic' France, Britain will join stay-behind Syria force

‘The ISIS threat will remain,’ John Bolton says

The enclave is the last shred of territory held by the extremists who have been driven from territory in Iraq and Syria over the past four years by an array of enemies, including a US-led worldwide coalition.

The US-supported Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said on Tuesday that it had eliminated nearly 40 members of the Daesh* terrorist organisation in the southeastern Syrian village of Baghuz but lost three militias during the ensuing clashes.

Host Martha Raddatz asked Bolton about Trump's comment last month that 100% of the territory previously held by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria had been taken back by the U.S. military.

Another SDF official who asked not to be named said that his force and the coalition only target ISIS positions at night.

"We should be clear that what we are seeing now is not the surrender of ISIS as an organization", he added, saying they are "waiting for the right time to resurge".

After a night of heavy bombardment on Tuesday, SDF spokesman Mustefa Bali said about 3,000 jihadists had handed themselves over to the SDF in the past 24 hours.

The jihadists, waging a last-ditch battle in Baghouz, a collection of hamlets and farmland near the Iraqi border, dispatched suicide bombers against SDF fighters, who thwarted the attacks, the USA -backed force said. And there are different circumstances in different parts of the world but for those who've said, for example, that the terrorist threat from Iran - those who've said in the years since the 1979 Islamic revolution, 40 years now, the ideology will fade, they'll just become normal nation again like everybody else, that hasn't been true in Iran. Three women and four children belonging to the Yazidi sect, a minority group who were kidnapped and enslaved by IS in 2014, were also freed, he said.

"We will enter with full force and we will be at the forefront" of the advance, said the fighter.

Mustafa Bali tweeted: "Troops clashed with terrorists on more than one axis and the field command confirmed the death of 38 terrorists - 20 air raids were carried out, destroying a number of military vehicles, defensive fortifications, two ammunition stores and a command centre".

The Russian defense ministry said they targeted a weapons store by Tahrir al Sham where it said the jihadists planned a drone attack on a Russian air base near the Mediterranean.

The UN's food agency said it is concerned about their well-being.

Delil, an SDF fighter, said: "Today, the sandstorm is to their benefit but all coming days are ours".

"On Sunday night more than 3,000 people, mostly women and children in a poor state, reached the camp", the WFP said.

At the height of its brutal rule, IS controlled a stretch of land in Syria and Iraq the size of the United Kingdom. "When he talks about the defeat of the ISIS territorial caliphate, he has never said that the elimination of the territorial caliphate means the end of ISIS in total".

He has since agreed to maintain a presence of about 400 troops in Syria.

He says so far there are no dead or wounded among the SDF.

"The battles are not over", he said, sitting on the ground in a circle with two men and a young boy in a hooded jacket.

Baghouz is the latest front on Syria's complex civil war, which has killed more than 360,000 people since 2011.

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