The armed Islamic State fighters stood guard over their last territory in eastern Syria; however, their faces were fully wrapped in scarves. The seasoned jihadists who are still holding on to their last enclave in eastern Syria seem determined to fight till their last breath.
Thousands of people, most of them are the wives of Islamic State rebels and their children have been moving out of the beset enclave at Baghouz for weeks, forcing the U.S.-supported Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to postpone an attack on the last remnant of the jihadists’ territorial rule.
Footage of the Islamic State-managed frontline reveals armed rebels, most with only their eyes visible, overseeing the evacuations from an inferior patch of agricultural land scattered with vehicles and a few buildings.
The SDF has stated that the fighters who are staying back and evading the evacuation are the most seasoned foreign militants, demanded by governments from around the globe, who are potentially to fight till their death.
On Saturday, a witness saw dozens of mostly men crossing from Islamic State territory into SDF-controlled lines. The SDF stated that the people who crossed were wounded Islamic State militia.
A few women with their full-face covered in black robes and children carrying bags could be seen among the people thronging at the frontline.
A no-man’s land of about 200m divides the position of the SDF from the Islamic State frontline at Baghouz, a collection of small settlements and farmland near the Iraq border.
Expatriates are screened by the SDF as they come up and are sent north to the al-Hol camp, already overcrowded with uprooted Syrians and Iraqis from years of war and grappling to deal with the influx.
However, the jihadists remain a severe threat. In Iraq they have gone to the extent, showing waves of killings and kidnappings. In Syria, their comrades withstanding in remote desert areas and have conducted bombings in areas managed by the SDF.