Civilians 'safely evacuated' from last IS enclave in Syria

Civilians 'safely evacuated' from last IS enclave in Syria's Baghouz
2 min read
20 February, 2019
Trucks have left the last Islamic State pocket in Baghouz, eastern Syria, safely evacuating civilians from the besieged area.
Trucks leave Baghouz with evacuated civilians [The New Arab]
Civilians have been safely evacuated from the last Islamic State (IS) enclave in eastern Syria, a spokesman for the US backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said Wednesday.

Reporters near the front line saw dozens of evacuation trucks leaving the enclave, Reuters and the New Arab Arabic service have reported.  

The trucks entered the besieged enclave yesterday to rescue civilians trapped in Baghouz.

Isolating the IS militants who remain there is essential to defeating the extremist group and capturing the area, the SDF earlier said. 

The SDF has been running operations to defeat the fighters and take over the territory, the success of which will mark the final territorial defeat of IS. 

The UN human rights chief expressed concern on Tuesday for the 200 families trapped in the small enclave.

Citizens evacuating the last IS enclave in eastern Syria
Civilians evacuating the last IS enclave in eastern Syria
[EXCLUSIVE PICTURE]

Michelle Bachelet said in a statement that IS militants were actively preventing civilians, including women and children, from leaving the tiny area currently besieged by the Kurdish-led SDF.  

There have been reports of IS militants using civilians as human shields.

A ceasefire between IS and the SDF has been holding, a correspondent from The New Arab reported from the front line of the siege on Tuesday, describing the situation as calm.

IS released 10 SDF fighters on Sunday, after which the SDF permitted trucks of foods to enter Baghouz.  

The 300 trapped militants are refusing to surrender as they attempt to negotiate an exit.

Thousands of Baghouz residents fled into SDF areas last week as clashes between the SDF and IS, as well as coalition bombing, led to the death of civilians.

Those trapped in Baghouz face appalling conditions. One women whose family was killed was forced to give birth in a hole after tents flooded, The New Arab was told.

The leader of the IS group Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi allegedly remains in a small area in Deir az-Zour with five of his inner circle, an Iraqi security source told Petra, a Jordanian news agency.

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