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Some 40,000 civilians have left last ISIS bastion in Syria – SDF

Around 40,000 civilians have left the last shred of territory controlled by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) in Syria, an official with the US-backed forces trying to defeat the jihadists said on Wednesday. The figure comprises people displaced from Hajin, a town on the Euphrates River that the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) captured in December, and adjacent Baghouz, which they have completely surrounded, Reuters quoted spokesman Mustafa Bali as saying. The SDF is waiting to complete the evacuation before storming Baghouz or forcing a surrender, but there was no sign on Wednesday of it ending imminently. Dozens of trucks ferried more civilians out along dirt track roads on Tuesday. Since the SDF announced its final assault on Baghouz on February 9, about 15,000 people have come out of the area, a cluster of hamlets surrounded by farmland near the Iraqi border, according to Bali.