The Latest: US-backed Syrian fighters to resume attack on IS
OUTSIDE BAGHOUZ, Syria (AP) — The Latest on the conflict in Syria (all times local):
A spokesman for the U.S.-backed force fighting the Islamic State group says a deadline for the extremists to surrender has ended and the Kurdish-led force will resume its attack on the last area held by the extremists.
Mustafa Bali, a spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces, tweeted Sunday that the decision to resume the offensive comes after thousands of civilians left Baghouz, which is the last village held by IS.
Under the cover of heavy coalition bombing on March 1-2, SDF forces advanced on the besieged tent encampment, leaving a corridor for residents to evacuate.
Following that operation, thousands of residents and many fighters evacuated Baghouz over the next four days.
“Our forces are ready now to start and finish what is left in ISIS’s hand” Bali added.
Syrian opposition activists say dozens of people have demonstrated in the southern city of Daraa to protest the construction of a statue of late Syrian President Hafez Assad.
Daraa is the city where Arab Spring-inspired uprising began with peaceful protests in March 2011 but escalated into an armed rebellion that has killed more than 400,000 people.
The late Assad is the father of President Bashar Assad whose forces have made major gains over the past few years in the war with backing from his strong allies, Russia and Iran.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor, said the protest occurred in Daraa’s center with protesters chanting “Long live Syria” and “Down with Bashar Assad.”
Other opposition activist collectives including Sham Network reported the protest.