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Toll Climbs at Syria’s al-Hol Camp as SDF Presses Offensive Against ISIS

Toll Climbs at Syria’s al-Hol Camp as SDF Presses Offensive Against ISIS

Thursday, 21 March, 2019 - 12:00
People gather near the fence of al-Hol displacement camp in Hasaka governorate, Syria March 8, 2019. REUTERS/Issam Abdallah
Asharq Al-Awsat

Twelve people died overnight after arriving at a camp in northeastern Syria from ISIS’ final enclave at Baghouz, the International Rescue Committee said on Thursday, as the US-backed forces pressed an offensive against the extremist group in its last redoubt.

"Last night, another 2,000 women and children arrived at al-Hol camp in northeast Syria from Baghouz. Up to 60 arrivals needed immediate hospitalization and there were another 12 deaths recorded," IRC said in a statement.

"These women and children are in the worst condition we have seen since the crisis first began. Many have been caught up in the fighting and dozens have been burnt or badly injured by shrapnel," Wendy Taeuber, IRC’s Iraq and northeast Syria country director, said in the statement.

An AFP team on the ground saw trucks carrying people out of Baghouz on Wednesday night.

"There have now been at least 138 deaths on the way to al-Hol or soon after arriving at the camp since early December. The deaths have overwhelmingly been of babies and infants," IRC said.

Taeuber’s statement came as the command of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces said that "mopping up operations continue in Baghouz camp.”

The SDF, which launched a final assault against Baghouz on February 9, denied reports that the ISIS enclave had completely fallen to its forces.

"The information of the total liberation of the village is unfounded," said the command.

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday praised the progress of the fight against ISIS since he came to power, saying the fall of the extremist organization's rule was imminent.

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