Hundreds surrender in last IS enclave, SDF advance

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on March 15, 2019 - Duration: 01:39s

Hundreds surrender in last IS enclave, SDF advance

Islamic State militants along with women and children surrendered in the hundreds to U.S.-backed forces in eastern Syria on Thursday as the jihadists lost ground in their last shred of territory.

Mia Womersley reports.

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Hundreds surrender in last IS enclave, SDF advance

As the final assault on the last enclave of Islamic State territory in Syria continues, the stream of people escaping keeps coming.

Men limping, children weeping, women dragging what they can in suitcases behind them, as the jihadists lose ground in their last shred of territory in Baghouz.

Reuters' Ellen Francis is there.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS CORRESPONDENT, ELLEN FRANCIS, SAYING: "Hundreds of Islamic State militants have surrendered from Baghouz, a tiny speck of land they still hold in eastern Syria.

This is the last push by the SDF with American air strikes and Kurdish leadership.

But they say IS fighters remain holed up inside, ready to fight to the death.

The militants have unleashed car bombs and suicide attackers at the frontline trying to mount a counter attack in the middle of a sandstorm here in a desert.

U.S.-backed forces say they have thwarted the attack and the fight rages on." Those leaving crossed out of the enclave along a dirt path over a rocky hill - leaving strollers and blankets behind in the dust.

An SDF spokesman said some 1,300 jihadists and their families came out on Thursday (March 14), included foreigners.

The militants surrendered during a pause in the U.S.-backed assault to seize the final patch of populated I.S.

Territory.

The U.S.-backed SDF said at least 112 militants had been killed since it resumed the offensive at the weekend.

Overall, tens of thousands have fled Islamic State's shrinking territory in recent months.

Most have been transferred to a camp at al-Hol in the northeast.

The United Nations says there are around 67,000 people there, 90 percent of them women and children.

Camp workers say they don't have enough tents, food or medicine and fear the spread of disease.

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