Hundreds more evacuated before final assault on IS | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 02, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, March 02, 2019

Hundreds more evacuated before final assault on IS

Kurdish-led forces in Syria extracted hundreds more people from the ruins of the "caliphate" and yesterday prepared for a final assault against jihadists hunkered down for a desperate last stand.

Diehard fighters from the Islamic State group and their families remained holed up in a last pocket, despite US President Donald Trump's claims that 100 percent of jihadist territory was retaken.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) evacuated several hundred people late Thursday from Baghouz, a hamlet by the Euphrates where the "caliphate" looks set to peter out.

"Many foreigners from various nationalities were among them," SDF spokesman Mustefa Bali told AFP without specifying which ones.

Up to several thousand people are thought to remain in a makeshift camp on the edge of Baghouz, the last dreg of a jihadist proto-state that was larger than Britain four years ago.

In remarks to US service members delivered in Alaska on his way back from Vietnam, Trump again jumped the gun on declaring victory over the jihadists.

"We just took over - you know, you kept hearing it was 90 percent, 92 percent - the caliphate in Syria. Now it's 100 percent. We just took over," he said.

That was contradicted by facts on the ground however and by officials from the SDF.

Meanwhile, the UN said yesterday at least 84 people, two-thirds of them young children, have died since December on their way to al-Hol camp in northeastern Syria after fleeing Islamic State in the Deir al-Zor region, reported Reuters.

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