Warplanes flew near Baghouz in eastern Syria early on Wednesday, a Reuters witness said, as the final remnants of the Islamic State group held a narrow strip of land along the Euphrates in a last-ditch defence of its dwindling territory.
Defeat there would signal the end of the ultra-hardline Islamist movement s control in eastern Syria, having held more than a third of Syria and Iraq at one point in 2014 as it sought to carve out a huge caliphate in the region.
On Tuesday, the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said they had driven the remaining Islamic State fighters in the town of Baghouz from a makeshift encampment that had represented most of its remaining territory.
But while the capture of Baghouz, close to the Iraqi border, would mark a significant milestone in Syria s eight-year war and in the battle against the jihadist group, Islamic State remains a threat.
Some of the group s fighters are still holed up in the central Syrian desert and others have gone underground in Iraqi cities to wage an insurgent campaign to destabilise the government.
Mustafa Bali, a spokesman for the SDF, said late on Tuesday that clashes with the militants at the Euphrates were continuing "in several pockets".