The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have launched an assault on the Islamic State group’s last enclave in Syria.
Head of SDF media office Mustafa Bali told Reuters news agency their forces “are now clashing with the terrorists”.
Islamic State militants are centred in the town of Baghuz in eastern Syria.
Once the village is taken, the US and its allies are expected to formally declare the end of the “caliphate” proclaimed by IS in 2014.
The group once controlled 88,000 sq km (34,000 sq miles) of territory stretching across Syria and neighbouring Iraq, imposed its brutal rule on almost eight million people, and generated billions of dollars from oil, extortion, robbery and kidnapping.
After five years of fierce battles, local forces backed by world powers have driven IS out of all but a few hundred square metres near Syria’s border with Iraq.