Around 3,000 members of the militant Islamic State or Daesh group have surrendered from its last holdout in Syria, reports said on Tuesday.
A ragged tent encampment in the eastern Syrian village of Baghouz is all that remains of a once-sprawling “caliphate” declared in 2014 across large swathes of Syria and neighbouring Iraq.
Kurd fighters have been trying to crush holdout residual Daesh militia for weeks but the mass outpouring of men, women and children from the riverside hamlet has bogged down its advance.
SDF renewed its assault on Sunday after warning remaining IS fighters their time was up.
Shelling has since pummelled Baghouz three nights in a row, killing scores of daesh members and prompting hundreds to surrender.
Thousands handed themselves over on Tuesday, after a Kurds made rapid advance on the encampment the previous night.
“Number of Daesh members surrendered to us since yesterday evening has risen to 3,000,” Kurdish spokesman Mustefa Bali tweeted Tuesday evening.
Three women and four children were also rescued, he added.
Dozens of SDF fighters massed at the entrance of the village of Baghouz on Tuesday evening.
Sherif, the unit commander, said his force was preparing to storm the Daesh redoubt.
“We readied ourselves today and our spirits are high,” he told AFP.
“We will enter with full force and we will be at the forefront” of the advance, said the fighter.