A woman is frisked by a U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighter at a screening area after being evacuated out of the last territory held by Islamic State militants, in the desert outside Baghouz, Syria, Friday, March 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
A girl waits to be screened by U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) after being evacuated out of the last territory held by Islamic State militants, in the desert outside Baghouz, Syria, Friday, March 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
OUTSIDE BAGHOUZ, Syria – The Latest on the conflict in Syria (all times local):
A group of Yazidi women and children have reunited with their families in Iraq after five years of captivity in the hands of the Islamic State group.
Elated families met their loved ones at a truck stop on the road between Sinjar and Dohuk, tossing candy in the air like confetti and ululating with joy.
The group of three Yazidi women and 18 children had crossed into Iraq from Syria on Thursday. They are among thousands of civilians who emerged in the last few days from the last speck of territory held by the Islamic State group in the village of Baghouz, in eastern Syria.
About 3,000 Yazidis are still missing after IS militants stormed their communities in the Sinjar region in northwest Iraq in 2014, and enslaved, raped and killed thousands of worshippers of the esoteric faith.
Fighters with the U.S.-backed force battling the Islamic State group in eastern Syria advanced on two fronts Saturday as the extremists used snipers and booby traps to slow the push on the last area they control, a spokesman for the group said.
Mustafa Bali of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces tweeted that “heavy clashes” were taking place in the area on the east bank of the Euphrates River.
Zana Amedi, an SDF commander, told The Associated Press that “an active ground force” is advancing into IS-held territories as the extremists resort to sniper fire and booby-traps.