ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Dozens of Islamic State fighters continue to surrender to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) following the extremist group’s territorial defeat in Syria, a spokesperson for the Kurdish-led forces said on Sunday.
According to AFP, dozens of people, mostly men, were seen leaving tunnels and encampments in the Syrian village of Baghouz, where the Islamic State suffered its final defeat.
“They are ISIS fighters who came out of tunnels and surrendered today,” SDF spokesperson Jiaker Amed was quoted as saying by AFP.
“Some others could still be hiding inside,” he added.
Following a prolonged military offensive on the extremist group’s last remaining pocket of territory in war-torn Syria, the US-backed SDF announced victory over the Islamic State on Saturday.
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The final push was initially put on hold earlier this month by the US-led coalition and the SDF in an attempt to spare civilian lives and hostages that were being held captive by the resisting militants.
During the months-long operation, thousands of Islamic State fighters and their wives and children surrendered to the Kurdish-led forces.
The announcement marked the end of the so-called Islamic State’s self-declared caliphate from June 2014, which at its height controlled an area comparable to the size of Britain, with a population estimated at 12 million people under its control.
The US-led coalition campaign, launched in 2014 to counter the extremist group, has spanned five years and two US presidencies.
The war has affected hundreds of thousands, with many still suffering from the atrocities the Islamic State had committed.