At least 16 civilians, including seven children, were killed in air strikes launched by a US-backed coalition fighting to push the fighters of the Islamic State group of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known like ISIS) from their latest enclave in eastern Syria, a war controller said.
Coalition fighters fired missiles in support of Kurdish-led Syrian-led forces (SDF) in Baghouz, a village in the province of Deir Az Zor, as part of a fierce battle to seize
ISIL, Mustafa Bali, said heavy clashes are on Tuesday after hundreds of people have escaped from the battle zone overnight.
There, about 600 ISIL fighters remain in an area of 4 sq. Km near the Iraqi border on the eastern banks of the Euphrates River.
The SDF, backed by a US-led coalition, announced a final push to reconquer Baghouz late Saturday evening. Since then, some military progress has been made, but ISIL anti-snipers and landmines have slowed down the ground forces.
Coalition spokesman Sean Ryan said the forces backed by the United States were facing fierce fighting.
"Progress is slow and methodical given that the enemy is completely rooted and ISIL fighters continue to conduct counterattacks," he said.
"The coalition continues to hit ISIL targets whenever it is available."
Imran Khan of Al Jazeera, referring to Turkey's Gaziantep, said that air strikes that killed civilians occurred Monday, early Tuesday morning on the outskirts of the village.
"These air strikes are designed to prevent ISIL fighters from escaping from the area," Khan said.
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While about 1,500 civilians had escaped from the enclave on Monday, hundreds remain trapped inside.
According to Khan, there was a pause in the fights.
"We are listening to the forces of the SDF and ISIL fighters are negotiating a humanitarian corridor to allow civilians trapped in the area to go out safely," he said.
"However, this has not happened yet, and it is clearly in the interest of ISIL fighters to keep civilians inside the village of Baghouz … In fact, they are held hostage ", he added.
The sound of the explosions echoed tens of kilometers away and you could see columns of dark gray smoke from the territory of the SDF
Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war observer Headquartered in the UK, he said heavy clashes are "under way to force ISIL to surrender".
The Observatory said 12 SDF men and 19 ISIL fighters were killed in the clashes on Monday
Bali said that the SDF responded after ISIL launched a counterattack 39; beginning of the day and claimed that there were "dozens of SDF hostages" held by ISIL.
President Donald Trump said Monday that the coalition could declare victory over ISIL in the region in the coming days.
"Our brave warriors have virtually liberated 100% of ISIL [territory] in Iraq and Syria … soon it will be announced soon, maybe next week, maybe less, but it will be announced that we have 100%, "he told a demonstration in the American city of El Paso.
In December, Trump announced a total withdrawal of US troops from Syria, saying that ISIL had been "Stuck"
Backed by coalition air strikes, the US SDF alliance is fighting to eliminate ISIL from Deir Az Zor since September.
The armed group invaded many parts of Syria and neighboring Iraq in 2014, but a series of military offensives reduced that territory only to Baghouz.
Since December, tens of thousands of people, mostly women and children linked to ISIL fighters, have fled from the restricted area of ISIL in the territory of the SDF.  US-backed forces projected newcomers, eliminating potential interrogation fighters
On Monday, dozens of coalition and SDF fighters were placed in an observation point for newcomers from # 39; ISIL.
forces stood over about 20 men
Two French women told AFP news agency that they paid the smugglers to get them out of the battered ISIL in Baghouz, but the fighters Iraqis had prevented other foreigners from leaving.
"We have nothing to eat, only Iraqis have food," said one of the women.
"They are allowed to go outside while we are locked in … I just hope to keep my children alive because my husband died in the strike air," he said.
Once declared the "caliphate", combat will continue to eliminate the dormant cells of ISIL, the SDF and their allies have said.
"After Baghouz, clearing operations will have to take place" Ryan said
The ISIL still maintains a presence in the vast desert of the Badia in Syria and has claimed a series of deadly attacks by dormant cells in areas held by the SDF.