Fierce fighting for last IS foothold in eastern Syria

BEIRUT (AP) — A Syrian war monitoring group and a Kurdish news agency say fierce fighting is underway between U.S.-backed Syrian forces and Islamic State militants around the extremists’ last foothold in eastern Syria.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the push by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces has been slow due to land mines, sniper fire and suicide car bombs used by the Islamic State group, which is also using civilians as human shields.

The Kurdish Hawar news agency reported heavy fighting on Monday in the village of Baghouz.

The U.S.-backed fighters on Saturday launched a final push to clear the area from IS.

The capture of Baghouz would mark the end of a four-year global war to end the extremist group’s territorial hold over large parts of Syria and Iraq.