ISIS Fighters Surrender in Syria, Others Killed in Afghanistan


About 100 fighters from the Islamic State group have surrendered since Friday in Raqqa, with the Syrian city said to be on the brink of falling to a U.S.-led coalition.

Meanwhile, a U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan's eastern Kunar province on Thursday killed 14 ISIS militants, Afghan officials said Saturday.

In Raqqa, all of the combatants were "removed from the city," a spokesman for the U.S-led coalition against ISIS told Reuters on Saturday.

ISIS was said to be on the verge of defeat in Raqqa, the report said. The Syrian Kurdish YPG militia said Saturday that all jihadists might be gone as soon as Saturday or Sunday.

"Daesh (Islamic State) is on the verge of being finished. Today or tomorrow the city may be liberated," YPG spokesman Nouri Mahmoud told Reuters.

The U.S. military, however, was more circumspect is setting a time frame.

"We still expect difficult fighting in the days ahead and will not set a time for when we think (Islamic State) will be completely defeated in Raqqa," U.S. military spokesman Col. Ryan Dillon told Reuters in an emailed statement.

Civilians flee Raqqa

In recent days, scores of civilians have been fleeing the last few remaining neighborhoods held by ISIS, ahead of an anticipated final push by U.S.-backed fighters seeking to retake the city.

A video that emerged Friday showed desperate, terrified residents emerging from destroyed districts, some of them collapsing on the ground in exhaustion as they arrive. They seemed to be taking advantage of a slowdown in the fighting and airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition amid efforts to ensure the safe evacuation of an estimated 4,000 civilians who remain trapped in the city.

The coalition has said that ISIS militants are holding some civilians to use as human shields, preventing them from escaping as the fight enters its final stages. The city, on the banks of the Euphrates River, has been badly damaged by the fighting, and activists have reported that over 1,000 civilians have been killed there since June.

Commanders said to be targeted

In Afghanistan, Abdul Ghani Musamim, a spokesman for the Kunar provincial governor, said Saturday that the drone strike took place Thursday afternoon in the Chawkay district. He said it targeted a meeting of IS commanders planning for a terrorist attack.

The government has no control of the remote area, where Afghanistan's ISIS affiliate has established a presence.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, Dawlat Waziri, also confirmed the report. There was no immediate comment from the U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan.

However, lawmaker Shazada Shaheed rejected the report, claiming the victims of the strike were civilians.

The ISIS affiliate has grown in Afghanistan over the last few years.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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