Despite assurances from President Trump that ISIS territory will soon be, U.S.-backed forces continue to battle ISIS fighters in . CBS News correspondent Charlie D’Agata reports on Monday ISIS fighters launched a fierce counterattack from the village of Baghuz Fawqani, seizing back territory from Kurdish-led forces.
D’Agata has seen the fighting from eastern Syria, even beingjust last week. He reports ground forces backed by U.S. and coalition airstrikes launched an offensive over the weekend to rid the last remnants of ISIS from the only foothold they have left.
Syrian Democratic Force officials estimate between 500 and 600 militants remain. On Monday, the chief spokesman told CBS News there were far more civilians trapped inside that village than previously thought.
The situation is a far cry from the president’s announcement in December that ISIS was already defeated, saying he planned to pull U.S. troops from Syria. Mr. Trump later told “Face the Nation” moderator Margaret Brennan the U.S. military could always come back if it was needed. But the president’s decision to withdraw troops has prompted backlash from members of his own party and intelligence team.
SDF commander Adnan Afrin told CBS News he wasif U.S. forces leave, saying an underground network of fighters are already preparing to regroup.
On Monday, a UN report found the terror group remains a threat. In a statement, Under Secretary-General Vladimir Voronkov said despite a fall in “international attacks” in 2018, “this threat is increased by returning, relocating or released foreign terrorist fighters.” Voronkov also said the central leadership of ISIS maintains an “intent to generate internationally-directed attacks.”
CBS News’ Pam Falk contributed to this report.