Syria: SDF launches its final push against ISIS in Baghouz enclave
Coalition forces launch airstrikes against the last Islamist enclave in Syria
Hundreds of civilians escaped from Baguz on Thursday
Aircraft from the US-led coalition on Thursday launched airstrikes on the village of Baguz, the last enclave of the Islamic State terrorist group in northern Syria. Thanks to the panic among the Islamists, several hundred more civilians were able to escape from Baguz.
About 2 thousand people were evacuated from the last stronghold of Islamists in Syria on Wednesday.
“Coalition warplanes hit several targets on the western front,” Adnan Afrin, commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), told Voice of America. According to Afrin, this was done to divert the attention of IS terrorists in order to facilitate the escape of civilians.
According to an SDF spokesman, hundreds of civilians were able to escape today from the Islamist enclave. At the same time, the military identified several IS militants among them, who were detained.
According to the leadership of the coalition and the SDF, hundreds of Islamists still remain in Baguz. Most of them are in a shelter that does not exceed a few hundred square meters. However, there is a possibility that many militants are hiding in an extensive network of tunnels and caves in the vicinity of Baguz, using civilians as human shields..
Negotiations on the release of civilians were rather sluggish, as the main group of the remaining militants refused to surrender. Previous attempts to free the civilian population, most of whom are members of the families of the militants, have ceased after the Islamists opened fire on defectors.
The SDF command says that after the complete evacuation of all civilians from Baguz, a “final cleansing” of the Islamist camp will be carried out. The SDF claims that the IS’s defenders are already running out of supplies of weapons and medicines, but they admit that there are still several days left before the complete victory over the Islamists. The leadership of the Kurdish combat units believe that the terrorists will be finally defeated by the end of this week.
The question of the further fate of the captured militants and members of their families remains open. On Tuesday, the SDF handed over 150 Islamists to the Iraqi authorities for further criminal prosecution. However, many countries in the coalition – including the United States, Britain, France and Germany – refuse to accept back their citizens who fought on the side of the “Islamic State”.
In addition, there are fears that even after the liberation of Baguz, IS will still pose a threat to the security of the people of Syria and Iraq. According to US intelligence estimates, there are still about 30 thousand Islamists on the territory of both countries..