Russian Federation accuses U.S. of holding Syrian refugees

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

A lorry carrying displaced men near Baghouz town, Syria, last month.

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.

Hundreds of people, including Islamic State fighters, evacuated the extremist group's last foothold in eastern Syria on Monday, after US -backed Syrian fighters again slowed their offensive to allow a way out of the tiny enclave.

Spokesman Mustafa Bali tweeted that about 3,000 came out of the village of Baghouz in eastern Syria on Monday through a humanitarian corridor established by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) for those who want to leave or surrender.

SDF resumed its offensive to recapture Baghouz last Friday, after a two-week pause to allow for the evacuation of civilians.

Initial estimates from both the coalition and the SDF put the number of IS fighters in Baghuz at about 300, with officials warning they were some of the most dedicated and hardened fighters the terror group had to offer.

A coalition official told VOA Monday that the SDF was "working diligently" to get any remaining civilians out of harms way, but admitted the number of civilians still hiding with IS fighters or being held against their will, was not known.

The militants and their families and other civilians are believed to have used tunnels, caves and holes to hide from airstrikes and missiles by the USA -led coalition and the SDF.

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The Kurdish-led force pushed into Baghouz on Saturday.

Three air strikes hit the village of Baghouz earlier in the day, causing a huge cloud of grey and black smoke to billow up into the sky.

The Observatory, which relies on a network of sources inside Syria, said artillery fire and air strikes continued into the night.

They were later taken to the Kurdish-controlled al-Hol camp in the northeastern province of Hasakah.

After months under heavy bombardment and sometimes with very little to eat, many of those emerging from Baghouz are in poor physical and psychological health.

The government has declared that Hoda Muthana, 24, is not an American citizen, and has barred her from entry.

"I believe that the battle will end within days after seeing surrenders from among their ranks", said one SDF fighter.

The chiefs of the United States and Russian militaries met in Austria on Monday to discuss the situation in Syria, where a residual United States military force will remain following the territorial defeat of the IS group.

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