Kino Gabriel (right), the spokesperson for the Syrian Democratic Forces, delivers a press conference to reporters in Deir ez-Zor governorate, Syria, on March 17, 2019
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said on Sunday that according to intelligence gathered from Islamic State (ISIS) members and civilians who have fled and surrendered, "approximately 5,000 fighters and their family members" remain in al-Baghouz.
"Our forces have won great victories against terrorist Daesh organization. The fighting is now confined to a small area in al-Baghouz town in the eastern countryside of Deir ez-Zor," SDF spokesman Kino Gabriel told reporters during a press conference near the town.
He detailed that "terrorists and their families who surrendered to our forces [is] 29,600." Additionally, "the number of terrorists arrested in special operations by our forces [is] 520."
The SDF began its final phase of Jazira Storm
on January 9.
After our forces had evacuated thousands of civilians who had been used as “human shields” by terrorists, the terrorist organization had been besieged in the town.
Gabriel explained that 37,000 civilians have been evacuated.
"Under the blows of our forces and in support of the international coalition to provide air support; a large part of the elements of the organization and their families forced to surrender to our forces, while hundreds of them were killed and others wounded," Gabriel said.
He claimed the SDF has killed "1,306 terrorists in addition to a large number of wounded."
While the SDF put their casualties at 11 killed, and 61 injured.
To the west in Deir ez-Zor governorate near the town of al-Huraibisha, a landmine
killed 16 people and injured at least 30 people, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).
The UK-based rights monitor said a car carrying people who were collecting truffles detonated the mine.
SOHR also reported that information on the whereabouts of the Orthodox Syriac Bishop of Aleppo Yohanna Ibrahim was obtained
from ISIS members trying to escape through tunnels from Baghouz into Iraq.
Gabriel said during his press conference that Iraqi forces in Anbar province discovered three tunnels being used by ISIS. He did not reveal any information about the bishop.
ISIS is being squeezed by the SDF on three axes with their backs to the Euphrates River. The area they control has been described as about 500 square-kilometers.
The SDF continue to receive support, advice, and assistance from the US-led international anti-ISIS coaliton.
The coalition's Operation Roundup began on May 1, 2018, with the aim to clear ISIS from the Middle Euphrates River Valley — the group's last bastion east of the river.