https://diyaruna.com/en_GB/articles/cnmi_di/newsbriefs/2019/02/22/newsbrief-03

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SDF evacuate women, children from ISIS holdout

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) trucked out civilians from the last patch of territory held by the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) in Syria on Friday (February 22nd), AFP reported.

More than 40 trucks carrying men, women and children left the enclave on Friday in the second such large-scale evacuation in three days.

Asked what the situation was like inside the last ISIS bastion, a young man replied: "Not good".

SDF spokesman Adnan Afrin said more than 2,000 people were estimated to still be inside the pocket, and more trucks were expected to bring them out.

Once the evacuations have ended, the SDF will expel the last ISIS fighters from the less than half a square kilometre they still hold, he said.

"When the civilians leave, we will see how many civilians and ISIS fighters remain inside and what they want to do," he said. "They will be faced with a choice: war or surrender."

Earlier on Friday, SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali said he hoped civilian evacuations could be completed by Saturday.

The SDF evacuated 3,000 people on Wednesday but trucks left near empty on Thursday.

Bali said screening had determined that most of those evacuated Wednesday were foreigners.

"The majority are Iraqi and from countries of the former Soviet Union, but there are also Europeans among them," he said.

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