The Witness - - NEWS -

BAGH­DAD — Sev­eral hun­dred sus­pected Is­lamic State fight­ers sur­ren­dered last week to Kur­dish author­i­ties after the mil­i­tant group lost its last strong­hold in northern Iraq, a se­cu­rity of­fi­cial said.

The sus­pects were part of a group of men who fled to­ward Kur­dish­held lines when Iraqi forces cap­tured the Is­lamic State base in Haw­ija, the of­fi­cial said yes­ter­day, ask­ing not to be iden­ti­fied.

The re­port of mil­i­tants flee­ing, rather than fight­ing to the fin­ish as in pre­vi­ous bat­tles, sug­gested their morale may be fad­ing, said Hisham al­Hashimi, a Bagh­dad­based ex­pert on Is­lamic State af­fairs.

“Ap­prox­i­mately 1 000 men sur­ren­dered over the last week. Not all, how­ever, are ter­ror­ists,” said the se­cu­rity of­fi­cial from the northern Iraqi base of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Gov­ern­ment. This leaves Is­lamic State now de­fend­ing a stretch of land on both sides of Iraq’s western border with Syria. — Reuters.

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