The extermination of the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (also known as ISIL or ISIS), as a territorial entity is expected this week or the next, after the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), supported by the U.S. and other allies, move forward with their final offensive against the last ISIL stronghold in Syria.

The SDF on Feb. 9 announced it had launched the final battle to destroy the last major ISIL fighting force defending a small sliver of territory in the Deiz Ez-Zor province of Syria. These surviving fighters are bottled-up in the so-called “Hajin pocket” centered around the small village of Hajin in eastern Syria.

A mere 600 Islamic State fighters stand in the way of an SDF force and allied Arab militias outnumbering them more than 10 to 1 and backed by overwhelming U.S. and European airpower and artillery support.

The inevitable destruction of this force will mean an end to the physical caliphate that controlled vast swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria. Military experts concur ISIL will live on as a guerilla force in the newly liberated territories after its final defeat in Syria.

This paltry number is all that survives of the more than 30,000 fighters that committed unspeakable brutalities after establishing their so-called caliphate in Iraq in 2014. This encompassed more than 100,000 square kilometers at its height in 2014. ISIL claims it had 100,000 fighters to defend its caliphate.

SDF said the ISIL remnants are penned into a four-square kilometer strip of land surrounding Hajin.

"The SDF have started to launch ... the decisive battle to finish off the remaining ISIL terrorists in the village of Baghouz," tweeted SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali.

Bali said the aim of the current offensive is to end the military presence of Daesh terrorists. Daesh is an insulting term for ISIL used by the SDF.

The SDF paused it final attack for more than a week to allow civilians to flee. Bali said most of the ISIL fighters trapped in the Hanjin pocket (or the Middle Euphrates River Valley pocket) are foreigners. Hundreds of civilians are also believed to be inside this territory, as well.

SDF launched its Deir ez-Zor campaign (which they codenamed the al-Jazeera Storm campaign) in late 2017. The goal of the campaign is to seize territory east and north of the Euphrates River in eastern Syria.

SDF fighter in action
A member of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) runs to take cover from sniper shots near the central hospital of Raqa. The SDF said it will destroy the last remnants of Isil in Syria this week. BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images

After a pause due to the Turkish-led invasion of Afrin in Syria, the SDF resumed the campaign in May. The third phase of the campaign began Sept. 10. The SDF and anti-ISIL Coalition announced the resumption of the offensive on Nov. 11.

After capturing Hajin and a 10-day pause to evacuate civilians, the SDF launched its final assault on the remainder of the Middle Euphrates River Valley pocket Feb. 9.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said some 1,279 ISIL terrorists and 678 SDF fighters have been killed since he SDF began its offensive against ISIL on September 10. More than 400 civilians have also been killed.

The U.S. predicts the final battle against ISIL will end this week.