More than 150 IS militants handed over to Iraq from Syria

More than 150 IS militants handed over to Iraq from Syria

More than 150 IS militants handed over to Iraq from Syria

A spokesman for a US -backed Syrian force fighting the Islamic State said Tuesday a military operation aimed at ousting the extremists from their last remaining area in eastern Syria will commence after separating or evacuating civilians holed up with them.

UK, US and French special forces are preparing to help in storming the area once it is cleared of civilians and surrendering fighters, the Guardian understands, in a mission which it's hoped will free hostages such as the British journalist John Cantlie, captured by Isis in Syria in 2012 and used as a propaganda tool.

At least 10 trucks carrying men, women and children left the Daesh group's last holdout in eastern Syria on Wednesday, in a sign a final assault may be approaching.

"Many of them are apparently being actively prevented from leaving by ISIL", it said in a statement, using another acronym for IS.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a deal appeared to have been reached with the militant holdouts.

Spearheaded by the Kurdish YPG militia, the SDF has been the main US partner in Syria and has driven Islamic State out of swathes of the north and east over the last four years.

On Tuesday, February 19, the SDF said several ISIS fighters and dozens of civilians handed themselves over to the Kurdish-led force.

The US operation tweeted it can't confirm if ISIS fighters are surrendering, but "the most hardened ISIS fighters still remain in Baghuz".

"We are working on secluding and evacuating civilians and then we will attack".

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"But there are positions where we can't advance or even strike because civilians are among the fighters", he said.

In an apparent warning to European nations, Mr Trump said if they did not bring the fighters home, the US-backed Kurds "will be forced to release them". He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the talks, which he described as taking place indirectly.

The evacuation convoy on Wednesday, however, as well as the presence of Isis fighters among the women and children, suggested the battle was finally moving into its endgame.

They still stage and inspire attacks overseas through sleeper cells in both Syria and Iraq.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have surrounded their territory of a few hundred square metres as airstrikes targeted the Isis pocket yesterday.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the blasts in the Qusour neighborhood during rush hour Monday killed 13 people and wounded 25.

U.S. President Donald Trump's withdrawal order has been criticized by allies at home and overseas.

Al Jazeera's Imran Khan, reporting from Turkey's Gaziantep on the border with Syria, said residents had an "enormous amount of suspicion from the people of the Rukban camp". A wheelchair stood empty in a crowded truck bed, where a dozen children mixed with their mothers.

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