Islamic State launches counter attacks at Syria enclave

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Islamic State militants mounted two counterattacks on Wednesday against U.S.-backed Syrian forces that are on the brink of capturing the jihadists' final enclave in eastern Syria, but made no progress and were stopped, the U.S.-backed Syrian force said. The second attack, launched in the afternoon, was "much stronger" than the first, the media office of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said in a note circulated to journalists. "They took advantage of smoke and dust over Baghouz," it said. "Fighting is still continuing. (Islamic State) made no progress so far and were stopped." There were no casualties. "They attempted to carry out suicide attacks but failed," the SDF said. (Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Kevin Liffey)