Fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces stand guard on a rooftop in Raqa last October after retaking the city from Islamic State fighters. Photo: BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images

Thousands of Islamic State fighters and their relatives have fled from U.S.-led military campaign in eastern Syria, The New York Times reports, citing new classified intelligence assessments.

Why it matters: Some are hiding in areas near Damascus, the Syrian capital, and are awaiting orders from their leaders through encrypted communications channels. This undercuts the Trump administration’s claim that the terrorist group has largely been eradicated, per the Times.

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Biden's China plan: Bring allies

Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Joe Biden is planning to confront China across the globe, embracing some of President Trump's goals but rejecting his means.

The big picture: By starting a trade war with China, Trump has fundamentally altered the U.S.- China relationship — and forced both Republicans and Democrats to accept a more confrontational approach towards Beijing.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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In pictures: Storm Zeta churns inland after lashing Louisiana

Debris on the streets as then-Hurricane Zeta passes over in Arabi, Louisiana, on Oct. 28. It's the third hurricane to hit Louisiana in about two months, after Laura and Delta. Photo: Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

Tropical Storm Zeta has killed at least two people, triggered flooding, downed powerlines and caused widespread outages since making landfall in Louisiana as a Category 2 hurricane on Wednesday.

The big picture: A record 11 named storms have made landfall in the U.S. this year. Zeta is the fifth named storm to do so in Louisiana in 2020, the most ever recorded. It weakened t0 a tropical storm early Thursday, as it continued to lash parts of Alabama and the Florida Panhandle with heavy rains and strong winds.