IS militants hiding behind civilians, slowing Syria attack

SDF resumed its offensive to recapture Baghouz last Friday.

4 March 2019 | 11:31

Source: Associated Press

  • Source: Associated Press
  • Last update: 4 March 2019 | 11:31

Columns of black smoke billow from the last small piece of territory held by Islamic State militants as U.S. backed fighters pounded the area with artillery fire and occasional airstrikes in Baghouz, Syria, Sunday, March 3, 2019. (AP Photo)

OUTSIDE BAGHOUZ, Syria: U.S.-backed Syrian fighters battling the Islamic State militants in their last foothold in Syria say they have been forced to slow down their push because the extremists are using civilians as human shields.

But despite the slowing, Mustafa Bali, a spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, tweeted on Monday that the battle to retake IS-held Baghouz “is going to be over soon.”

SDF resumed its offensive to recapture Baghouz last Friday, after a two-week pause to allow for the evacuation of civilians.

Retaking the sliver of land would be a milestone in the devastating four-year campaign to end IS’ self-proclaimed Islamic caliphate that once straddled vast territory across Syria and Iraq.

Bali said “we’re slowing down the offensive” due to a small number of civilians held as human shields.

 

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