More than 300 Islamic State group fighters trapped in the last square mile held by the group are refusing to surrender to US-backed Syrian forces and are trying to negotiate an exit, a person close to the negotiations said on Monday.
The militant group is making its last stand in the village of Baghouz in eastern Syria, where it has been under siege by Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
The development signals further delay to a declaration on IS' territorial defeat that US backed Syrian forces were hoping to make last week.
The militants are asking for a corridor to the province of Idlib and demand they be allowed to leave along with evacuating civilians.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said another request by IS to be evacuated to neighbouring Iraq was also rejected. IS released 10 SDF fighters on Sunday, without the guarantee of any concessions in exchange.
A truce reached between SDF and IS last week was reportedly extended for five days on Sunday.
The capture of Baghouz would mark the end of a four year war to end IS’ territorial hold over large parts of Syria and Iraq, where the group established its self-proclaimed “caliphate” in 2014.
More than 200 members of the IS group, mostly foreign fighters, surrendered themselves to the international coalition forces earlier this week.
Source: The New Arab.