Hundreds of people, including women and children, have been evacuated from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group’s (ISIL, also known as ISIS) last holdout in Syria, bringing US-backed forces closer to retaking the last sliver of the “caliphate”.

An official from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said on Thursday that the civilian evacuation is expected to be completed on the same day. 

AFP correspondents reported on Wednesday seeing at least 17 trucks carrying men, women and children out of the last patch of ISIL territory in the eastern Syrian village of Baghouz. 

SDF spokesman Adnan Afrin said most of the hundreds who have left were civilians, but also included ISIL fighters. 

“Civilians and fighters from many nationalities have surrendered,” he said, adding that “there was a group of ISIL fighters hidden among the civilians… but as far as we know, our colleagues have arrested them”.

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