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3,000 IS fighters surrender in Syria

BAGHOUZ, Syria (AFP) – Around 3,000 Islamic State members have surrendered from the group’s last holdout in Syria, Kurdish-led forces said Tuesday, as air raids and shelling resumed after a brief lull.

A ragged tent encampment in the eastern Syrian village of Baghouz is all that remains of a once-sprawling IS group’s ‘’caliphate’’ declared in 2014 across large swathes of Syria and neighbouring Iraq.

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has been trying to crush holdout IS fighters for weeks but the mass outpouring of men, women and children from the riverside hamlet has bogged down its advance.

Backed by the US-led coalition, the SDF renewed its assault Sunday after warning remaining IS fighters their time was up.

Air strikes and shelling have since pummelled Baghouz three nights in a row, killing scores of fighters and prompting hundreds of jihadists and their relatives to surrender.

Thousands handed themselves over Tuesday, after a deluge of fire hit the IS encampment the previous night.

‘’Number of Daesh (IS) members surrendered to us since yesterday evening has risen to 3,000,’’ Syrian Democratic Forces spokesman Mustefa Bali tweeted in English on Tuesday evening.

Three women and four children of the Yazidi minority were also rescued, he added.