Vehicles loaded with civilians left the final Islamic State enclave in japanese Syria on Friday, as U.S.-backed forces waited to inflict last defeat on the surrounded jihadists.
Reporters close to the entrance line at Baghouz noticed dozens of vehicles driving out with civilians inside them, but it surely was not clear if extra remained within the tiny pocket.
The village is all that continues to be for Islamic State within the Euphrates valley area that turned its last populated stronghold in Iraq and Syria after it misplaced the key cities of Mosul and Raqqa in 2017.
The SDF has steadily pushed the jihadists down the Euphrates after capturing their Syrian capital, Raqqa, in 2017, however doesn’t wish to mount a last assault till all civilians are out.
The U.S.-led coalition which helps the SDF has mentioned Islamic State’s “most hardened fighters” stay holed up in Baghouz, near the Iraqi frontier.
WATCH: U.S. says it should preserve 200 troops in Syria when it leaves area
Assist us enhance Globalnews.ca
Mustafa Bali, head of the SDF’s media workplace, earlier informed Reuters that greater than three,000 civilians have been estimated to nonetheless be inside Baghouz and there can be an try to evacuate them on Friday.
“If we reach evacuating all of the civilians, at any second we’ll take the choice to storm Baghouz or power the terrorists to give up,” he mentioned.
Although the autumn of Baghouz marks a milestone within the marketing campaign towards Islamic State and the broader battle in Syria, the militant group continues to be seen as a significant safety menace.
READ MORE: ‘We’ve been advancing steadily,’ says a Canadian on the frontlines towards the final ISIS enclave
It has steadily turned to guerrilla warfare and nonetheless holds territory in a distant, sparsely populated space west of the Euphrates River – part of Syria in any other case managed by the Syrian authorities and its Russian and Iranian allies.
The United States will depart “a small peacekeeping group” of 200 American troops in Syria for a time period after a U.S. pullout, the White Home mentioned on Thursday, as President Donald Trump pulled again from a whole withdrawal.
Trump in December ordered a withdrawal of the two,000 troops, saying they’d defeated Islamic State militants in Syria.
WATCH: Islamic State’s Syria territory faces collapse