Reuters/Deir al-Zor Province, Syria
A month ago the SDF launched what it called a "final battle" to take the cluster of houses and farmland, and people leaving the enclave have described harrowing conditions of peril and hardship.
The SDF said a week ago that it believed all civilians had come out and renewed its assault, leading to a new surge of displacement, including obdurate disciples of Islamic State, some of its captives and hundreds of surrendering fighters.
A Yazidi woman who emerged on Thursday spoke of years of enslavement and abuse by the jihadists. Two Iraqi boys who came out with her, pretending to be her brothers, said many fighters remained dug into tunnels in Baghouz.
However, the head of the SDF media centre, Mustafa Bali, said no more people had emerged on Friday.
"We are waiting for tomorrow morning or perhaps until the afternoon, we'll give another space, for the possibility that civilians are present and the chance to get them out," he said.
After that, "if no civilian or terrorist comes out, we will launch our military operation anew."
The capture of Baghouz will mark the end of Islamic State's territorial rule over populated areas of Iraq and Syria, and the culmination of a US-backed military campaign waged by the SDF for four years.
After suddenly seizing swathes of land straddling the Iraqi-Syrian border in 2014 and declaring it their caliphate, Islamic State were beaten back by numerous local and foreign forces in both countries, suffering major defeats in 2017.
However, the jihadists remain a menace. In Iraq they have gone to ground, staging waves of killings and kidnappings. In Syria, their comrades hold out in remote desert areas and have carried out bombings in areas controlled by the SDF.
Those who have fled Baghouz have mostly gone to al-Hol, a displacement camp in northeast Syria whose population has swelled to 62,000 people, 90 percent of them women and children.
LEAVE A COMMENT Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*
Rocket hits house north of Tel Aviv, Israelis wounded: police
Azali hijacked Comoros elections, claim rivals
Militants emerge from tunnels to surrender after ‘territory’ falls
Iraqi parliament sacks governor after deadly ferry sinking
Israeli forces kill two Gazans during border protest
Eight kids who mistook explosive for scrap metal killed in Sudan
Syria Kurds urge world to take back foreign militants
Yemen peace hangs on fragile truce as conflict far from over
US-backed forces declare IS defeat in last enclave