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Militants refuse surrender in Syria’s embattled IS-held area



ISIS fighters

Baghuz (Syria), Feb. 21, 2019 (dpa/NNN) About 260 fighters from Islamic State are refusing to surrender to U.S.-backed Kurdish forces that are battling to seize the radical militia’s last stronghold in eastern Syria, a war monitor reported on Thursday.

“Those insurgents are holing themselves up in a small area and inside underground tunnels.

“Theses tunnels are located between the eastern banks of the Euphrates River and the village of Baghuz, part of which is still under Islamic State control,’’ the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights added.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a Kurdish-led rebel group allied with the U.S., is pressing ahead with a campaign it started earlier this month to dislodge Islamic State from Baghuz.

The observatory said that most of the Islamic State fighters are foreigners.

“If they insist on fighting, we will storm the area where they are in. They have no other choice but to surrender or die,’’ an SDF military commander told dpa in Baghuz on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, Adnan Afrin, another SDF commander, said more civilians had been evacuated from the Islamic State-controlled pocket, but he did not give specific figures.

On Wednesday, some 2,000 people, mostly civilians and family members of Islamic State fighters, left the area.

The SDF forces have played a key role in battling Islamic State in war-torn Syria. (dpa/NNN)
Edited by Abiodun Oluleye/Ismail Abdulaziz

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