UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — The defeat of an Islamist state on Tuesday is looming in the last pocket under its control with the surrender of hundreds of fighters and their families. The US-backed democratic forces of Syria said the battle was over.
Britain was stripped of citizenship last month for security reasons.
A Reuters witness saw hundreds of people surrendering to Syria’s democratic forces, which launched their latest offensive against the Baguz on Sunday, backed by air strikes by the US-led international coalition and a blockade of the region for weeks.
The Bagouz enclave is the last land controlled by the militant group that has been expelled over the past four years from the territories under its control in Iraq and Syria.
The fierce attack continued late on Tuesday. Direct footage from the Kurdish television channel Ronahi showed a series of large explosions that light up the night sky in the Baguoz as a result of an apparent explosion of a munitions depot.
Smoke rose above the burning buildings amidst a steady burst of gunfire and explosions.
Mustafa Bali, director of the Media Center of the Syrian Democratic Forces, said between 1,500 and 2,000 people left Baguoz on Tuesday, including fighters and their families.
“Until our forces make sure that everyone who wants to surrender and end the process of surrender, the clashes will resume,” he said.
He added that the final defeat of the militants in the Baguoz is very close.
The coalition said in an e-mail message on Tuesday that an estimated “few hundred” of the Islamic State’s foreign fighters were still in the Baguoz and that they had decided to fight to the end.
A barrage of rockets targeted the Baguz pocket on Monday, but calm prevailed on Tuesday morning before intensive bombing resumed.
“The Baguoz process is over or with a finished judgment, but it takes a little time to actually end it on the ground,” Keno Jabreel, a spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces, told Al-Ahdat television.
Syria’s Democratic forces have imposed a siege on the Baguz for weeks, but have repeatedly postponed the final attack to allow the evacuation of thousands of civilians, including wives and sons of Islamic state fighters. But it resumed the offensive on Sunday, backed by coalition air strikes.
Jabareel said 25 Islamic fighters had been confirmed dead in the clashes so far, as well as an unspecified number of militants killed by air strikes. Another official in the Syrian Democratic Forces earlier confirmed the killing of 38 fighters of the organization.
Syria’s demilitarized forces, led by units protecting the Syrian Kurdish people, are slowly advancing in Baguoz to reduce losses by snipers or landmines.
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Syria’s democratic forces said the Islamic state’s defenses included an expanded network of tunnels while a large number of foreign fighters were holed up inside the enclave.
A US defense official said Washington did not believe there were leaders of the organization in the Baguoz and estimated that the leaders moved elsewhere as part of the organization’s transformation into guerrilla tactics.
Militants surrendered in Baguz to be interrogated and searched.
Although the Baguoz is the last inhabited area within the Islamic state declared the “Caliphate State”, the organization is still active in remote areas and is widely believed to remain a major security threat.
Even as the last pocket of his home collapsed, the organization published a new propaganda film filmed in the past few weeks inside the Baguoz, insisting that it was the successor to all Muslims and calling on its supporters to remain faithful to the Islamic state.
“Tomorrow, God willing, we will be in paradise and in bliss, and they are in hell burning,” said a member of the organization, who was referred to by the photographer as Abu Abdul Azim.
The bulk of evacuees from the shrinking Islamic state’s territory have been relocated to a camp for displaced people in the northeast of Syria, and the United Nations says living conditions in the camp are “very difficult.”
The United Nations says the camp, designed to accommodate 20,000 people, now houses more than 66,000 people.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday that 106 people, mostly infants, had died since December during the six-hour journey to the Hull.
The defense of many fugitives in the Islamic state, especially foreigners, poses a complex security, legal and moral challenge to their countries.
Attention was drawn to the case on Friday by the death of a young Briton, Chmima Begum, who left her country as a young man to join the militant organization.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for VOP from different countries around the world – edited and published by VOP staff in our newsroom.
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