ISIS defends last Syria redoubt, as family members flee

"Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) fighters made a desperate last stand in eastern Syria on Wednesday (February 13th), while their wives and children fled the area, AFP reported.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Saturday launched a final push to expel ISIS fighters from the sole remaining morsel of the proto-state they declared in 2014 across Syria and Iraq.

Thousands of people have flooded out of the so-called "al-Baghouz pocket" near the Iraqi border in recent days -- mostly women and children, but also suspected ISIS fighters.

Hundreds of people fled the ISIS holdout on Tuesday night, SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali said.

On Wednesday, the SDF were advancing slowly against hundreds of extremists.

"We have retaken positions lost in a counterattack launched two days ago by ISIS. We have progressed and taken new positions," Bali said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also said the SDF were making painstaking progress.

"There are mines throughout the sector," said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.

"The SDF are firing rockets," he said, and both sides were locked in heavy clashes on the edges of al-Baghouz village.

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