World News

Last civilians to leave site of Islamic State's final stand in Syria

Last civilians to leave site of Islamic State's final stand in Syria

Baghouz, on the eastern bank of the Euphrates, is completely surrounded by the SDF.

Iraqi sources said the SDF handed over more then 150 Iraqi and other foreign jihadists to Iraq on Thursday, under a deal involving a total of 502.

The SDF fighters were escorting the workers in vehicles from the Omar oil field, the monitor said.

Fabien Clain, who is believed to have gone to Syria in March 2015, was killed in the terror group's last Syrian redoubt of Baghouz, the sources said on condition of anonymity.

Clain became known as the French voice of ISIS after he read out the six-minute statement.

There was no immediate confirmation of the report from the French defense or foreign ministries.

Taking it will nudge the eight-year-old Syrian war towards a new phase, with United States president Donald Trump having pledged to withdraw American troops, leaving a security vacuum that other powers would seek to fill.

Though the fall of Baghouz marks a milestone in the campaign against IS and the wider conflict in Syria, Islamic State is still seen as a major security threat.

Nearly all the territory in the east of the Euphrates River comprising some one-third of the territory of Syria, except for the Assad regime-controlled area near Deir el-Zour and the Daesh-held area near the Iraqi border, is controlled by the SDF.

Some 300 ISIS militants are still in Baghouz, but the SDF say they can not launch attacks as long as civilians are still stranded in the village.

More news: Serena Williams Shelled out $200K for Meghan Markle's Baby Shower

US -backed Syrian forces fighting the Islamic State group in Syria handed over more than 150 Iraqi members of the group to Iraq, the first batch of several to come, an Iraqi security official said Thursday.

A Reuters witness saw warplanes in the sky over Baghouz on Thursday though there was no sound of fighting or shelling.

An SDF spokesman said the attack killed mostly oil workers, as well as fighters in the village of Shheel close to an oil field acting as a base for the anti-IS force.

It's said that the SDF fighters, with troops of the USA -led coalition against ISIL, waited at a position on Baghouz's outskirts to question the evacuees and record their names. "He and his brother were rappers before, so they contributed also in creating religious songs for the Islamic State group, which aimed to recruit more and more people", he added.

The mayor of Iraqi border town Al-Qaim, Ahmed al-Mahallawi, said some fighters' families were also transferred. SDF says it can not afford to keep the captured foreigners in Syria, but few of their countries want them back.

Islamic State, whose leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared himself "caliph", or leader of all Muslims, in 2014, attracted members from all over the world, including many Western states.

Complicating efforts, SDF officials and observers on the ground say IS fighters, either from Baghuz or from sleeper cells located nearby, have launched a series of counterattacks on the outskirts of Baghuz and in nearby areas.

Adnan Afrin says the two blasts went off Thursday evening in the village of Shahil, about 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the al-Omar Oil Field base in the Deir el-Zour province.

Clain was jailed in the past for recruiting fighters and was believed by French authorities to have fled to Syria in 2015.