Convoy plucks women, children from last ISIS holdout in Syria
A convoy of trucks on Wednesday (February 20th) evacuated dozens of people from the last redoubt of the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) in Syria, AFP reported.
Around 15 trucks carrying men, women and children exited the last patch of ISIS-held territory in eastern Syria. Their exact number and nationalities were not immediately clear.
The convoy passed a position of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which are spearheading the battle against the group, after leaving the last ISIS holdout in the village of al-Baghouz, near the Iraqi border.
SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali said the trucks were evacuating a first batch of civilians, but some remained inside.
"After many days of trying, we were able to evacuate the first batch today," Bali said.
The number of people who quit the holdout would become clear once the convoy arrived at a nearby SDF screening point, he said.
"We do not know if ISIS fighters are among them, we will know at the screening point," Bali said.
Backed by international coalition airstrikes, the SDF have trapped ISIS fighters in less than half a square kilometre in al-Baghouz.
The SDF have slowed their advance in recent days to protect civilians ahead of a final push to defeat the group.