The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have evacuated 3,000 people from what's believed to be the final Islamic State enclave in eastern Syria, officials said Tuesday.
The Syrian residents were taken from Baghouz, where clashes between SDF forces and militants have been going for weeks.
The SDF reported the development early Tuesday in a tweet by Mustafa Bali, head of the SDF Media Office.
"Slowing down the offensive in Baghouz yesterday, we managed to evacuate about 3,000 people," Bali wrote. "A large number of [IS] jihadists surrendered to our forces among the same group overnight."
The slowdown occurred because the Islamic State used human shields, Rudaw reported.
Some evacuees were Russian women with symptoms of a disease caused by sand flies, the Rojava Information Center reported.
"A worrying number of people were showing symptoms" on their skin, the RIC said. Also among the evacuees were 200 to 300 militants who surrendered.
Officials said the Islamic State is currently trapped inside about 7,500 square feet of territory in Baghouz along the banks of the Euphrates River. French forces have been helping the SDF fight militants in the area, according to new video footage shot this week.
The coalition's Operation Roundup began last May with a goal to clear the Islamic State's final enclave in the Middle Euphrates River Valley.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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