Baghuz: The last refuge of ISIS

Islamic State fighters are refusing to surrender to U.S.-backed Syrian forces and are asking for a safe exit from their last stronghold in eastern Syria, according to VOA quoting local military officials told.

Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a U.S.-backed Kurdish alliance, said that IS fighters have been surrounded in a small area in the eastern Syrian province of Deir el-Zour.

“In the past several days, more than once we have offered them to surrender. But they don’t want to leave like that,” said another SDF commander, on condition of anonymity.

He said IS fighters would choose to fight until the end if they don’t receive” an offer from us, which includes a safe exit for them.”

The SDF  reportedly refused a request by IS fighters to be evacuated to the nearby Iraqi desert.

More than 300 IS fighters are believed to remain in Baghuz, the last stronghold held by ISIS extremists in Syria. The terror group now controls a few hundred square meters in Baghuz, where militants are hiding among hundreds of civilians, preventing them from leaving.

Other SDF officials said Monday they have been negotiating with IS to secure the release of hundreds of hostages and detainees kept in Baghuz.

Since the beginning of the campaign to recapture Baghuz a week ago, more than 5,000 civilians have been rescued from IS, SDF officials said.