US-backed Syria force says ISIS holding 1,000 civilians

Syrian Democratic Forces fighters walk in a building on Saturday, February 16, 2019, as the fight against ISIS continues in the village of Baghouz, Syria. (AP)

The US-backed Syrian militia fighting ISIS in its last toehold in Syria says there are over 1,000 civilians trapped in the tiny area and that the militant group is preventing them from leaving.

Mustafa Bali, a spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), told The Associated Press Sunday that ISIS has closed all the roads in and out.

SDF officials have said the extremists are hiding among civilians in a tented village and using a network of caves and tunnels.

ISIS, which once ruled a proto-state in large parts of Syria and Iraq, is clinging to an area less than a square kilometer in the village of Baghouz, in eastern Syria.

The extremists may include high-level commanders, and could be holding hostages.

Last Update: 06:54 KSA 09:54 - GMT 06:54