Civilian exodus from IS’s last Syria bastion

Beirut: Thousands of civilians, mostly relatives of fighters, are fleeing the IS group’s last stronghold in eastern Syria, a war monitor said on Thursday.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 11,500 people have fled the area since Kurdish-led forces broke IS defences and took the fighters main hub of Hajin two weeks ago. “The past fortnight saw the biggest exodus” since the launch in September of a broad offensive against IS by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the monitoring group said.
The outfit is an alliance of the Kurdish militia which controls northeastern Syria and local Arab fighters that operates with backing from a US-led military coalition. The group had already lost all of its major urban centres earlier in 2018 but was clinging to the remote area in the Euphrates River Valley. The SDF launched an operation involving more than 15,000 fighters to smash the ‘ last redoubt, known as the Hajin pocket, on September 10. — AFP