The very last elements of ISIS in the city of Baghouz in Deir ez-Zour Province, are being neutralised by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the International Coalition.
As the operations to defeat ISIS in their last enclave in Baghouz, a town in Syria’s eastern Deir ez-Zour Province, continues, thousands of ISIS militants have chosen to surrender to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), than face death.
According to the SDF over 2,000 ISIS militants have surrendered to the advancing forces ahead of the planned siege. The siege, which has been delayed multiple times due to civilian evacuations, will resume soon with air support from the International Coalition.
While no real advances have occurred, due to the land mines and IEDs that ISIS have planted along the way, heavy fire was exchanged between the two groups.
Civilians who have escaped the city say that civilians trapped inside are hungry and afraid due to the lack of food and ISIS’ use of civilians as human shields.
According to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), since the operations were launched earlier this year, over 60,000 people have left the small city along the Iraqi-Syria border. These evacuees can be divided into three main groups, civilians, ISIS fighters, and ISIS fighters’ families.
After they are received by the SDF, the evacuees undergo extensive screening, to confirm their identity.
Individuals with links to ISIS are transferred to special camps where they are being held by the forces, while ISIS families are held in a separate camp, both awaiting their unknown fates. So far, Iraq has been the only country, which has repatriated its ISIS militants, with over 500 of them handed over to the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF)
Civilians, on the other hand, are transferred to the al-Hol Displacement Camp where they are then relocated back to their homes and villages. Amongst the thousands of civilians who have managed to escape are dozens of Yazidi women and children, who were kidnapped by ISIS from their homes in Sinjar when the militant group captured their city in 2014.
So far, dozens of kidnapped women and children have been returned to their families in Iraq after their identities had been confirmed.
With the operations set to resume soon, ISIS defeat in the region is now imminent.