French 'voices of Isis' killed in strikes on Syria

ISIS Uses ‘Human Shields’ To Stall US-Backed-Forces Final Push

More than 10,000 people have reportedly left Baghouz in the last several weeks, many of them dramatic stories of what life was like under repressive ISIS rule.

Al Watan's report said that the Syrian air force carried out "a number of air strikes targeting Daesh [ISIS] movements in the eastern Badiya, specifically on one of the dirt roads leading to the town of Al Sukhna and southeast of the town". "We maybe on the threshold of a new battle", he said.

The militant fighters hail from a number of countries including Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.

But civilians still remain inside the enclave, he said.

The U.S. -backed SDF - which Turkey strongly opposes because of its link to the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) - is so far not part of ongoing United Nations -led talks to end the Syrian conflict, United Nations officials have said.

An SDF official told AFP that "hundreds of IS fighters" were among the thousands that "surrendered" to the Kurdish-led force.

Many of the ISIS fighters left inside the town are "foreign recruits, intent on fighting to the end", according to Kurdistan 24.

An SDF spokesman said thousands had been evacuated from the crumbling jihadist bastion since his force dialled down its advance.

But by late Monday, the YPG's Zana Amedi tweeted that IS control had been contained to a collection of about a dozen houses clustered near the banks of the Euphrates River.

Diehard jihadists are fiercely defending their last patch after the SDF and the US-led coalition resumed their offensive late Friday, following a two-week pause to allow for civilian evacuations.

An SDF spokeswoman said the offensive has slowed down but pressure is being kept up away from the evacuation corridor to prevent fighters from infiltrating or sabotaging the area.

Only coalition officials began expressing concern Sunday that IS fighters were making extensive use of women, children and possible hostages as human shields.

"What hampers the progress of our forces is the presence of civilians, as we are seeing [IS] use civilians as human shields", he said.

Sleeper cells are poised to create problems for local authorities long after the last IS territory is cleared.

Despite the slow and bloody progress that has marked the last days of the SDF's anti-IS campaign in Baghouz, sources who spoke to Syria Direct on Tuesday appeared confident that battle would soon reach a decisive conclusion.

Angry civilians evacuating from the last shred of territory held by Islamic State militants in Syria praised the extremist group Wednesday and chanted "Islamic State will remain", underscoring the defiance of IS fighters and their supporters even as their defeat looms.

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