Baghuz: Final assault on Isis town after jihadist families flee

Baghuz: Final assault on Isis town after jihadist families flee

Baghuz: Final assault on Isis town after jihadist families flee

Fierce shelling resumed Monday evening for the second night in a row, interrupting a brief lull in fighting that had taken hold during the day.

In the images said to have been filmed Thursday, women draped in black walked through the makeshift dwellings as overturned cars and scraps of twisted metal littered the ground. But tens of thousands have poured out of the area, swelling displacement camps such as Al Hol in Deir Ezzor province, where rights groups say basic services are on the brink of collapse.

In Monday's fighting, SDF fighters captured an arms depot and marched toward the tent settlement on the edge of Baghouz, Bali wrote.

According to the observatory SDF fighters managed to advance to some parts of the Baghuz camp and the agriculture fields around the village where Islamic State militants are still holed in.

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.

The warplanes of a US-led coalition and mortar fire overnight pounded weapons caches, and tank fire targeted IS positions, he and a spokesman said.

It is unclear how many people remain inside the ragged camp on the edges of the Euphrates River.

SDF forces were holding about 4,000 suspected Islamic State fighters from Iraq and Syria and more than 1,000 foreign fighters, the official said.

"If as we advance, we notice there are civilians, we will do all we can to evacuate them from the battlefield", Bali told the AP.

Since December, almost 59,000 people have left the last IS redoubt, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, around a tenth of them suspected jihadist fighters.

Once the village is taken, the USA and its allies are expected to formally declare the end of the "caliphate" proclaimed by IS in 2014.

Despite its losses, ISIS has still claimed a series of attacks against SDF forces and coalition forces in eastern Syria.

"When we began the operation we knew there would be civilians, but not in such a big number", Adnan Afrin, a spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces, said Thursday.

The United States is expected to keep 200 "peace-keeping" troops in Syria after the end of the offensive, despite President Donald Trump's shock announcement in December that all 2,000 American soldiers would leave.

Aid agencies are struggling to cope with the thousands of weak and hungry people who have fled Baghouz.

The report affirmed that most of the killings were women and kids.

Morocco said it had repatriated on Sunday eight of its nationals from Syria, who will be investigated for "suspected involvement in acts linked to terrorism".

They have regularly been "releasing certain numbers of people, including fighters, in controlled amounts" in an attempt to buy time, he said. It requires political courage, political commitment.

Citing legal sources, the paper said they had been stripped of their British citizenship.

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