Trucks evacuate civilians from last Daesh pocket in Syria: SDF official

Reporters near the front line saw the trucks leaving the enclave. (File/AFP)
Updated 20 February 2019
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Trucks evacuate civilians from last Daesh pocket in Syria: SDF official

  • Isolating the civilians in the enclave at Baghouz from the remaining extremists is a crucial step toward the final capture of the area, SDF said
  • The civilians are coming from the last Daesh pocket in eastern Syria at Baghouz

BAGHOUZ, Syria: A convoy of trucks carrying hundreds of civilians, including men, women and children, left the last enclave held by Daesh militants in eastern Syria on Wednesday, signaling a possible end to a standoff that has lasted for more than a week.
An Associated Press team in Baghouz, a village near the Iraqi border where the Daesh group is making its final stand, counted at least 17 trucks that emerged through a humanitarian corridor used in past weeks to evacuate people from the militants’ last patch of territory along the Euphrates River.
Women, children and men, some with checkered headscarves, or keffiyehs, could be seen through a flap opening on the flatbed trucks. One man carried a crutch; the women were engulfed in conservative black garments covering their faces known as niqabs.
Mustafa Bali, a spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces, the US-backed militia spearheading the fight against Daesh in Syria, confirmed the trucks were carrying civilians out of the enclave.
It was not immediately clear if militants were also on board the trucks. Around 300 militants are believed to be holed up in the enclave, along with several hundred civilians. On Tuesday, Bali said a military operation aimed at ousting the extremists from the area will begin if they don’t surrender, adding that such an operation would take place after separating or evacuating the civilians from the militants.
An SDF commander, Zana Amedi, said most of the militants remaining inside the enclave are seriously wounded or sick.
The Daesh group has been reduced from its self-proclaimed “caliphate” that once spread across much of Syria and Iraq at its height in 2014 to a speck of land on the countries’ shared border.
The SDF has been encircling the remaining Daesh-held territory for days, waiting to declare the territorial defeat of the extremist group.
Nearly 20,000 civilians had left the shrinking area in recent weeks before the evacuation halted last week when the militants closed all the roads out of the tiny area.


Turkey, Iran carried out joint operation against Kurdish militants

Turkey’s Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, above, said the operations will be on the eastern Turkish border. (AFP/File)
Updated 18 March 2019
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Turkey, Iran carried out joint operation against Kurdish militants

  • Turkish Interior Minister said they will reveal the results of the operation
  • Turkish military carried out a number of arrests of alleged PKK members in Turkey

ANKARA: Turkey and Iran carried out a joint operation against militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) on Monday, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said according to state-owned media.
“We started carrying out an operation with Iran against the PKK on our eastern border this morning (and) will announce the result,” news agency Anadolu quoted Solyu as saying. State broadcaster TRT Haber also cited him commenting on the operation.
Turkey’s military regularly carries out air strikes against PKK militants in northern Iraq and has carried out operations to arrest alleged members of the group in Turkey. The PKK is deemed a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and European Union.