Syria war: Daesh militants ‘caught trying to escape’ last enclave
BAGHOUZ, About 400 Daesh militants have been captured trying to escape the last piece of land the group holds in Syria, a US-backed militia says.
A Syrian Democratic Forces commander said the militants were caught overnight as they attempted to slip out of Baghouz with the help of smugglers.
Hundreds of others have surrendered and been evacuated from the village with thousands of civilians in recent days.
It comes after US forces and the SDF stepped up their bombardment of Baghouz.
Once the village is taken, the US and its allies are expected to formally declare the end of the caliphate proclaimed by Daesh in 2014.
The group once controlled 88,000 sq km of territory stretching across Syria and neighbouring Iraq, imposed its brutal rule on almost eight million people, and generated billions of dollars from oil, extortion, robbery and kidnapping.
After five years of fierce battles, local forces backed by world powers have driven Daesh out of all but a few hundred square metres near Syria’s border with Iraq.
Last Friday, the SDF said it had launched its final assault on Baghouz, declaring that nothing remained in the village except for terrorists.
After a weekend of intense air and artillery strikes, the alliance said it had to slow down the offensive due to a small number of civilians held as human shields.
SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali said about 3,000 people were evacuated on Monday and another 3,500, including 500 militants who surrendered, followed on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, a further 2,000 people left Baghouz. They were taken to an SDF checkpoint where they were searched, questioned and given food and water.
As of Monday, at least 90 people had died during the journey to
an SDF-controlled camp called al-Hol or shortly after reaching the camp, two-thirds of them babies and infants.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORKhttps://syrianewsgazette.com/syria-war-daesh-militants-caught-trying-to-escape-last-enclave/National news