SYRIA Baghouz, anti-ISIS offensive: 3,000 jihadists surrender to the alliance
In the last 24 hours at least 3 thousand jihadists, barricaded in the last enclave of the Islamic State (IS, ex Isis) in Syria, have surrendered to the Syrian democratic forces (SDF). The Arab-Kurdish alliance, supported by US air strikes, recently launched an offensive against the portion of territory on the border with Iraq that remained under the control of the Caliphate militiamen.
According to reports from SDF spokesman Musefa Bali, “the number of members of the Islamic State who were handed over from Monday evening (11 March) has risen to 3,000”. He added that the soldiers also rescued “three Yazidi women and four children”.
Part of Baghouz, a small cluster of houses and tents on the banks of the Euphrates, not far from the borders with Iraq, is today what remains of what was once called the “Caliphate” and which had occupied half of the territory of Syria and Iraq. In the area, an ever increasing number of militants – cornered by heavy bombing – are surrendering, handing themselves over to the military of the alliance.
The large number of civilians in the hands of jihadists, and used as human shields, has slowed down the final offensive that today appears ever closer to the conclusion. However, as has already happened in neighboring Iraq, a probable military victory will not erase the jihadist threat for the future.
In these last few hours the official media of Daesh [Arabic acronym for the Islamic State] have broadcast messages inviting supporters and sympathizers around the world to launch attacks against sensitive targets, in response to the Baghouz offensive. In the recording, lasting about a minute and a half, it is stated that men, women and children barricaded inside the village are victims of a “holocaust”. An unidentified ISIS militiaman appeals to Muslim “brothers” “in Europe and around the world”, inviting them to “stand up against the crusaders” and “avenge your religion”.
According to reports from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a NGO based in the United Kingdom with a dense network of informers in the area, almost 59,000 people have fled from the last stronghold of the Caliphate in Syria since last December. One tenth of these would be jihadist militiamen.
However, UN sources say that the flow of refugees going to the reception centers in the north of the area seem to have decreased in recent days compared to the previous weeks. At the same time, their conditions are increasingly critical and among the experts there is great concern about the health of those still holed up within the stronghold.