ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – At least 500 Islamic State fighters have surrendered to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) as the Kurdish-led troops continue their offensive on the last enclave the extremist group holds in Syria.
Mustafa Bali, head of the SDF Press Office, wrote in a tweet on Tuesday that 500 Islamic State fighters had surrendered to the SDF troops in Baghouz.
Bali also announced the liberation of five SDF fighters who the extremist group held hostage as well as the evacuation of 3,000 people from the Islamic State-held area.
On Monday, the SDF official said the offensive in Baghouz, a town in Syria’s eastern Deir al-Zor province, was “slowing down,” adding another 3,000 people were freed “through a corridor” the SDF forces opened.
On that same night, “a large number of Da’esh jihadists surrendered to our forces among the same group,” Bali added, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State.
The assault on the Islamic State resumed on Friday after the US-backed SDF evacuated what they believed was the last of the civilians held up in the terrorist group’s shrinking enclave located near Baghouz.
Most of the remaining militants in the Baghouz area are reportedly foreign recruits, intent on fighting to the end, ignoring the SDF’s ultimatum to either lay down their weapons or face a final ground offensive.
The liberation of Baghouz from the grips of the Islamic State would put an end to four years of the group’s self-proclaimed caliphate, once a sprawling territory in Syria and Iraq where they ruled over millions of civilians.
Despite its territorial collapse in Iraq in late 2017, the Islamic State remains a security threat to the country as it conducts insurgency-style attacks on civilians and security forces alike, especially in areas the group once controlled.