Baghouz — Veiled women carrying babies and wounded men on crutches hobbled out of Baghouz on Wednesday after US-backed forces pummelled the last jihadist village in eastern Syria. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) leading the assault expected more fighters to surrender with their families in tow before moving deeper in the Islamic State (IS) group’s last redoubt. Bandaged and bedraggled, gaggles of suspected jihadists in long brown robes limped away from the hellscape of Baghouz across fields of yellow flowers to reach an SDF screening centre. The tiny village on the banks of the Euphrates River where diehard IS fighters have made a bloody last stand has regurgitated unexplained numbers of people. Kurdish officers in the SDF and aid groups have voiced their surprise that the flow of evacuees never seemed to dry up after weeks of evacuations. On Tuesday alone, “3,500 people were evacuated from Daesh-held territory,” said SDF spokesperson Mustefa Bali, using an Arabic acronym for IS....

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