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article imageIraq holds 1,300 IS women, children: security official

By AFP     Sep 11, 2017 in World

Iraq has in its custody more than 1,300 women and children from Islamic State group families who surrendered to Kurdish peshmerga forces, an official said Monday.

"The peshmerga handed over 1,333 women and children from jihadist families from the Islamic State group," said the senior official in the Iraqi Joint Operations Command (JOC).

Iraqi forces in late August ousted IS from the jihadists' one-time stronghold of Tal Afar, near Iraqi Kurdistan, after facing fierce resistance in the town of Al-Ayadieh.

The women and children "surrendered to Kurdish forces" deployed north of Al-Ayadieh, said the official, who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity.

"We settled them in a camp for the displaced near Mosul," 70 kilometres (43 miles) east of Tal Afar, he said, adding the women and children were of "14 different nationalities".

During the battle for Tal Afar, images circulated on social media showing armed men in peshmerga uniforms among jihadists who were standing in line or sitting on the ground.

Witnesses said dozens of jihadists surrendered to the peshmerga after helping their families flee east and to Mosul. They had sought to blend in with other displaced people fleeing Tal Afar.

Peshmerga commanders have declined to comment on the reports.

However, in a statement published on the website of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (PDK) party of Iraqi Kurdish leader Massud Barzani, one said "many jihadists are trying to sneak out among the displaced".

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