More civilians expected to leave IS-held area in eastern Syria Deir al-Zour
February 26 2019 01:43 PM
Women and children evacuated from the Islamic State (IS) group's embattled holdout of Baghouz wait i
Women and children evacuated from the Islamic State (IS) group's embattled holdout of Baghouz wait in a zone held by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) during an operation to expel IS jihadists from the area, in the eastern Syrian province of Deir Ezzor

More civilians, mainly women and children, are expected on Tuesday to leave the last pocket still under Islamic State control in eastern Syria, where a US-backed Syrian force is battling to end the radical group's presence there.
 "Trucks went into the Baghuz area and we are hoping more civilians will come out today," Adnan Afrin, a commander in the US-allied Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), told dpa. "On Monday the total number that came out reached 2,500, mainly women, children and elderly," the Kurdish official said.
Afrin said he expects that the rest of the civilians will be evacuated in the coming two days. "From our end we are facilitating the evacuation of the civilians, but Daesh is behind the delay," he added, using the Arabic acronym for Islamic State. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said among the people who left Baghuz on Monday are some 120 members of Islamic State who turned themselves in to SDF.
 Hundreds of civilians have been evacuated in the past few days from the village of Baghuz, the last area Islamic State holds in the oil-rich eastern Syria. The SDF command insists civilians, whom it says are being used as human shields by Islamic State, leave the area before a final battle against the militant group in the area resumes.
 Earlier this month, the SDF forces, supported by a US-led alliance, started what it called the final battle aimed at capturing Bahguz. The SDF forces have played a key role in battling Islamic State in northern and eastern Syria.



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