Small Wars Journal

Civilians Held by Islamic State in Syria Go Free

Civilians Held by Islamic State in Syria Go Free by Nazih Osseiranand and Raja Abdulrahim – Wall Street Journal

Several hundred of the last civilians trapped by Islamic State in the militant group’s remaining sliver of territory left on Wednesday, suggesting the extremist group was near a surrender to U.S.-backed Kurdish forces.

 

Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, took the 400 civilians to camps housing displaced people from the village of Baghouz in eastern Syria, monitoring groups said. Islamic State fighters had been using them as human shields.

 

The civilian release came nearly two weeks after the SDF began an offensive to capture Baghouz, which it paused this past weekend during negotiations with Islamic State, the monitoring groups said.

 

Rami Abdul-Rahman who heads the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the civilian release followed the surrender of 180 Islamic State militants this week.

 

He said about 2,000 civilians, mostly families of the militants, were transferred out of the village as part of the negotiated deal with the SDF. The Observatory said 200 fighters are holed up in the village and refuse to surrender…

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