A convoy of trucks evacuated dozens of people including women and children from the Islamic State group's last Syria holdout yesterday, bringing US-backed forces closer to retaking the last sliver of the "caliphate".
The implosion of the jihadist proto-state which once spanned swathes of Syria and neighbouring Iraq has left Western nations grappling with how to handle citizens who left to join IS.
Around 15 trucks carrying men, women and children exited the village of Baghouz, the last patch of IS territory in eastern Syria, according to AFP correspondents.
Women wearing face veils, several children as well as men were seen inside the vehicles. Their exact number and nationalities were not immediately clear.
A SDF spokesman said the trucks were evacuating a first batch of civilians, but some remained inside.
Backed by air strikes by a US-led coalition, the SDF have trapped IS fighters in less than half a square kilometre in Baghouz.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said a surrender deal appeared to have been reached with the jihadists. “There are reports of a deal, but we don't know the details yet," it said.
On Tuesday, the SDF said several IS fighters and dozens of civilians handed themselves over to the Kurdish-led force. Spokesman Adnan Afrin said foreigners were among those who left the pocket, but did not say where they were from, or if they were civilians.