Tuesday, November 19, 2019
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Trucks Carry Civilians From Last Islamic State Enclave in Syria

A convoy of trucks Wednesday carried civilians away from the last area of Syria still under the control of Islamic State militants.

The group of at least eight trucks carried people from the town of Baghouz, continuing an evacuation of civilians that has taken place in recent weeks as a U.S.-backed militia closed in.

It is not clear exactly how many people were able to leave Wednesday, or how many civilians remain in Baghouz.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces have given Islamic State fighters what they say is a final warning to surrender before carrying out an offensive to clear Baghouz of militants.

U.N. human rights officials said Tuesday they were concerned about an estimated 200 families holed up in Baghouz. They said IS fighters were actively preventing women and children from leaving.

Thousands of people, including civilians and some suspected foreign fighters who had joined IS, have streamed out of Baghouz in the past several weeks.

The Trump administration wants European countries to take back their fighters who fled home to join the militants.

Britain has refused and is stripping them of their citizenship. France has also shown little enthusiasm for repatriating ex-Islamic State fighters.

Kurdish forces who have been fighting IS with the support of U.S. forces said they expect total defeat of IS in Syria by the end of the week.

"In a few days, we will announce a great victory over the largest terrorist organization that waged war on the world," a senior Kurdish fighter said Tuesday.

Source: Voice of America