51 people die fleeing from ISIS fighting in Baghouz – reports
More than 1,000 people on Tuesday managed to leave ISIS held al-Baghouz towards areas controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), according to multiple reports, however 51 people also perished.
On Tuesday, 1,400 individuals, including “at least” 350 ISIS members left al-Baghouz toward SDF areas. From Monday to Tuesday, 3,600 individuals left the town on the eastern bank of the Euphrates, including 470 ISIS members, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Wednesday.
In total, 49,050 individuals have left al-Baghouz since December, SOHR added, including 5,352 alleged ISIS members, mostly being Iraqi.
SOHR reported that currently there are 45,500 displaced people in the al-Hol camp.
Leaving ISIS-held territory is difficult and dangerous as conflict continues to wage between the US international coalition-backed and harsh weather conditions. The UK-based conflict monitor reported 51 people, mostly children, have died.
Mustafa Balai, the head of the Syrian Democratic Forces press office speaks during an Arab 24 report on February 27, 2019. Image: ENEX/Arab24
“We have besieged Daesh inside Baghouz. We avoid confrontation but if they try to break the siege we will respond them. We always try to carry out the process [of liberating Baghouz] with intense care in order to let out forces free the civilians,” Mustafa Bali, the head of SDF’s press office, told Arab 24.
The al-Hol management camp figures, according to Hawar News Agency (ANHA), show there are 5,009 Iraqi families in the camp, totaling 22,000 individuals.
Of alleged ISIS fighters, there are 3,500 people comprising 693 families, added ANHA. Their citizenship was not specified — indicating they are likely foreign fighters. The management of the camp claimed that NGOs aren’t doing their work properly.
“My husband was a shepherd. Then he started trading. When there was the attack, he joined Daesh. We remained with Daesh. We wanted to leave, but it wouldn’t let us,” said a Kurdish woman from Manbij whose Kurdish husband had joined ISIS.
She wanted to go to Idlib, where her son is right now, but she might end up in one of the camps set up for families of ISIS fighters.
ANHA, which is close to the Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) in the SDF, also reported that two more Yezidi children emerged from the displacement wave on Tuesday.
Milad Hussein, one of the rescued children, told ANHA that ISIS had trained them how to use weapons and would beat them.
He said that he was playing football when ISIS kidnapped him. The 13-year-old was also taught the Quran and “Islamic religion” by the extremists.
“I want to meet my mother and my brothers,” he added, saying he hasn’t seen them for four years now.