NEAR BAGHOUZ REUTERS Feb 12 -
Dozens of relatives of foreign fighters including Iraqis, Turks, and Russians fled Islamic State’s last bastion in eastern Syria on Tuesday as the jihadists lost ground to U.S.-backed forces.
A field commander with the Kurdish-led forces, which are pushing further into the besieged pocket, said mostly foreign militants were making their last stand.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which holds about a quarter of the country, has mounted an attack to seize the enclave with the help of U.S. air strikes. Many hundreds of civilians streamed out in the past two days alone.
The SDF made “slow and methodical” progress in the battle near the Iraqi border, according to the U.S.-led coalition backing it.
Jets roared in the sky and the sound of an explosion rang out from Baghouz, the last village in the area that is partly in Islamic State hands, a Reuters witness said.
Around 300 civilians who fled on Tuesday were transferred in trucks to a camp in the northeast. They appeared exhausted or hungry, and some of the children were barefoot.